Israel has called on the United Nations to postpone plans for an independent international probe of its last month attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy.
Speaking after his Monday meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon in New York, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he told Ban that the world body should suspend plans to launch an inquiry into the deadly onslaught.
"We expressed our view that for the time being, as long as … new flotillas are in the preparation, it’s probably better to leave it [a UN investigation] on the shelf for certain time," Haaretz quoted Barak as saying.
Israeli navy commandos stormed the Turkish-flagged Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters on May 31, killing nine activists onboard the six-ship aid convoy, and wounding scores more.
The fatal attack sent shockwaves across the world and raised repeated calls by different governments and organizations for an international investigation into the incident.
But Barak said the five-person panel Israel has established would be sufficient for now, describing the internal probe as "clearly independent, reliable, credible and should be allowed to work."
Meanwhile, many have voiced concerns that the committee’s two foreign observers, who have no saying on the probe’s proceedings and conclusions, will never meet the international community’s demands for an impartial investigation.
The Israeli minister also criticized Lebanon’s decision to allow an aid ship to sail to the Gaza Strip amid threats from Israel that it would use all necessary means to stop ships that venture to break the Gaza siege.
"We see the government of Lebanon responsible by granting permission for another ship with activists and aid on board to embark for Cyprus on a new attempt to reach the Palestinian territory," Barak told reporters Monday.
"As a result, there could be friction that could lead to violence, which is totally unnecessary," he warned.