Israel threatens to quit U.N. flotilla probe


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will cancel its participation in a United Nations probe of the Turkish flotilla incident if it insists on calling Israeli soldiers to testify.

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu makes it absolutely clear that Israel will not cooperate with and will not take part in any panel that seeks to interrogate Israeli soldiers," said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office late Monday.

The statement came after U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon said Monday during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York that he had not given behind-the-scenes assurances to Israel that members of the military would not be called to testify.

The four-member U.N. panel, which includes one Israeli and one Turkish member, was set to start work Tuesday on its inquiry into Israel’s May 31 interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish nationals, including one Turkish American, were killed. It marks the first time in recent history that Israel has cooperated with a U.N. investigation.

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