Ban Ki-moon says Israeli Commission of Inquiry not credible


June 19, 2010
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U.N. Leader Criticizes Israeli Plan for Inquiry

Neil MacFarquhar, 18 June 2010

See Richard Silverstein’s comment on this story: UN Secretary General Decries Israeli Investigation


UNITED NATIONS — The panel announced by Israel to investigate the deadly assault on a flotilla seeking to run the Gaza blockade lacks adequate international weight to make the panel credible, the United Nations secretary general said Friday.

Although Israel gave two foreigners observer status on the panel, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that most countries he had consulted agreed that “it is not sufficient enough to have international credibility.”

Mr. Ban also condemned the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip. Although he noted that Israel announced a slight easing of the blockade this week, Mr. Ban said a “fundamental change” was needed in its Gaza policy. “Much more is required to really meet the needs of the people,” he said at a news conference.

To investigate the flotilla, Mr. Ban had proposed establishing a four- or five-member independent panel, with one representative each from Israel and Turkey, to be led by Geoffrey Palmer, a former New Zealand prime minister. Turkey accepted the proposal while Israel did not, but Mr. Ban said he was continuing to discuss his plan with the Israeli government, pressing for the idea that the two inquiries could complement each other.

“While I believe that they have the capacity to carry on their domestic investigations, at the same time this investigation should have international credibility,” Mr. Ban said.

There would be no point in proceeding with a neutral panel if Israel remained opposed, he added, saying, “Without full cooperation, it would be extremely difficult to have a thorough and credible investigation.” He said he remained committed to trying to fulfill the Security Council’s call for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation.

Also Friday, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations released a letter that its ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, had sent to Mr. Ban and to the Security Council, urging the international community to prevent the sailing of another Gaza flotilla forming in Lebanon. Given that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, which is at war with Israel, has called on Lebanese citizens to help break the blockade, Ms. Shalev wrote, the flotilla might be used to try to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

“Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip,” Ms. Shalev wrote.


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UN Secretrary General Decries Israeli Investigation

After a drumbeat of criticism against the Israeli investigation of the Gaza flotilla attack, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has joined in, noting the Israeli panel does not rise the level of a credible international inquiry.  Ban also reinforced the criticism of the Israel siege of Gaza, saying the announcement of an easing of the blockade is insufficient to satisfy the world’s concern for easing Gaza’s suffering:

The panel announced by Israel to investigate the deadly assault on a flotilla seeking to run the Gaza blockade lacks adequate international weight to make the panel credible, the United Nations secretary-general said Friday.

Although Israel gave two foreigners observer status on the panel, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that most countries he had consulted agreed that “it is not sufficient enough to have international credibility.”

Mr. Ban also condemned the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip. Although he noted that Israel announced a slight easing of the blockade this week, Mr. Ban said a “fundamental change” was needed in its Gaza policy. “Much more is required to really meet the needs of the people,” he said at a news conference.

Why should the UN’s top official have a better sense of Gaza policy than our own president?

The article notes that Turkey has accepted Ban’s proposal for a UN investigation while Israel has refused.  When will Obama and Bibi be forced to concede that the Tirkel commission is an empty charade and turn to the UN for the credibility such an inquiry requires?

There is a new flotilla being planned by Lebanon.  Israel has warned that it considers the Lebanese effort a propaganda ploy by Hezbollah.  In doing so, the Israeli UN ambassador has used exactly the same ominous, threatening rhetoric which preceded the Mavi Marmara sailing.  Can there be any doubt that the U.S. and UN better do something to nip Israel’s predilection for disaster in the bud before we get a repeat of the last tragedy?

A German Jewish group and an English Jewish group also plan to join in the campaign to break the siege.  I wonder to what terror group they will attribute the Jewish efforts?  Perhaps the Stern Gang or Kach or maybe the military wing of Jewish Voice for Peace?

Interestingly, Haaretz buried the lede and consigned the story of Ban’s dissatisfaction with the Israeli inquiry to the middle of an article whose headline trumpets that Israel will do anything necessary to stop the Lebanese flotilla.

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