Despite Israel’s announcement of an internal probe of its deadly Gaza aid attack, the United Nations continues to push for a full international investigation.
Israel’s cabinet approved on Monday an Israeli inquiry into the May 31 onslaught, which killed and wounded many peace activists onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
The probe, however, falls short of meeting international demands for impartiality as the Israeli investigation panel includes no more than two foreign observers, who have no say on the proceedings and conclusions of the commission.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "takes note of the Israeli announcement on their inquiry," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters later in the day, saying a thorough Israeli probe could fit with the Ban’s proposal of a credible and impartial investigation.
But Ban’s "proposal for an international inquiry remains on the table and he hopes for a positive Israeli response," Reuters quoted Haq as saying.
Diplomats said Ban urged Israel to accept a neutral inquiry panel led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, interpreting the cautious UN reaction as indicative of Ban’s doubts about the impartiality of an Israeli-led probe.
Israel, once bitten hard by a UN Human Rights Council-mandated inquiry into its last year’s 22-day offensive against the Gaza Strip, seems to fear and thus resist a second such investigation.
The Gaza war commission led by South African prosecutor Richard Goldstone did serious damage to Israel’s global image by drawing attention to the Israeli army’s deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza and using Palestinians as human shields, among other war crimes.
Having lost nine nationals in Israel’s May 31 attack, Turkey has decided to carry out its own inquiry, saying it has "no trust at all" that Israel will conduct an impartial investigation.
The Human Rights Council has also said it would organize its own fact-finding mission.