Israel has announced an internal inquiry into its attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy and the deaths of a number of international activists onboard the fleet.
The "independent public commission" by retired Supreme Court judge Jacob Terkel will conduct a probe into the events surrounding the Israeli navy’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
A late Sunday statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the committee will determine whether the steps Israel took to prevent ships from reaching the Gaza coast, and "other matters tied up with this," were in accordance with international law.
Netanyahu’s office said the committee will also deal with the acts Israel took on May 31 to stop the Flotilla from reaching Gaza, and whether these were in accordance with international law. Other issues set to be investigated are the steps taken by the organizers of the Flotilla and the identity of the activists onboard.
The statement said the committee can request testimony from anyone or any organization, including the prime minister, defense minister, chief of general staff and government ministers.
The committee will also have access to the conclusions of the probe and will be able to request documents from an army-established committee, headed by former National Security Council chief Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, looking into the operational aspect of the incident.
It can close the hearings to the public if it feels that open hearings will endanger Tel Aviv’s diplomatic relations with other countries.
The probe is, however, far from what the international community has demanded.
Tel Aviv has rejected calls for an international investigation, saying its internal probe will include only two foreign observers — who will have no say on the proceedings and conclusions of the commission.
The final decision on the internal probe will be voted on by Israel on Monday.
Many activists or killed or wounded two weeks ago when Israeli forces stormed the six-ship Flotilla in international waters as it was carrying some 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance and 700 human rights campaigners to the besieged Gaza Strip.