Bibi rips team probing flotilla incident


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the team named by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the Turkish flotilla incident.

The fact-finding team of three experts on war crimes and human rights was announced last Friday.

It features Sir Desmond de Silva of Britain, former chief war crimes prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone; Karl Hudson-Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago, a former judge at the International Criminal Court; and Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia, a women’s rights activist.

Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting Sunday called the team "similar to the Goldstone Committee with unsympathetic trends, to say the least."

Israeli media have been quoting unnamed sources in the government as saying that it is unlikely that Israel will cooperate with the committee; an official announcement on cooperation is expected this week.

The team is set to gather information in Israel, Turkey and the Gaza Strip. It is scheduled to report back to the council during its three-week session that opens on Sept. 12. 

Israel established an independent public commission, which includes two international observers, to investigate the incident.

On Sunday, the Cabinet approved the appointment of two others to serve on the Turkel Comission at the request of the commission’s chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.

A Israeli military inquiry released earlier this month determined that there were intelligence and operational errors.  

The investigation was approved by the council on June 2, three days after Israel intercepted the Gaza-bound flotilla, leading to the deaths of nine Turkish passengers, including a Turkish-American citizen.

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