Israel has threatened to pull out of a UN investigation into its May 31 attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy as the international probe seeks to question Israeli soldiers.
Despite Israeli efforts to appease the global enrage over the death of nine Turkish activists onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the United Nations named its own panel in August to look into the deadly incident.
Israel agreed to participate in the UN probe but has opposed to have its military forces involved in the fatal onslaught grilled over the attack which was carried out in international waters.
Tel Aviv insisted that Israel’s agreement was conditional on the panel relying on reports from Israel’s own military inquiry, not testimony from soldiers.
But the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday stated that there was no agreement that the panel would refrain from calling Israeli soldiers to testify. "No, there was no such agreement behind the scenes," Ban stressed.
This seriously irked Israeli prime minister, and prompted his office to issue a harsh statement which vehemently ruled out Israel’s cooperation with or participation in "any panel that seeks to interrogate Israeli soldiers," Jerusalem Post quoted the statement as saying.
The response came a day after Netanyahu’s testimony before an internal inquiry panel where he insisted the Israeli army "acted in accordance with international law."
Israel’s self-ordered Tirkel commission is not authorized to probe the decision-making process which led up to the operation, nor does it have the authority to question troops involved in the fatal attack.