Having rejected the UN’s call for an international inquiry into the storming of the flotilla of aid vessels heading for Gaza, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now announced his country’s own inquiry.
A panel of three will be led by retired Supreme Court judge Yaakov Tirkel, and observed by two international experts. Whereas 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan was heading towards Gaza aboard the MV Rachel Corrie, 1998 winner Lord Trimble will be joining retired judge advocate general of the Canadian armed forces Ken Watkin as the two observers. The BBC explains:
The two foreign observers will take part in the hearings and subsequent discussions, but they will not vote on the conclusions of the inquiry
The panel’s role and powers are already being questioned. An editorial in Haatetz outlines some issues:
… Netanyahu’s panel will have no powers, not even those of a government probe, and its proposed chairman does not believe in such a panel. In an interview to Army Radio, Tirkel said there is no choice but to establish a state committee of inquiry. He opposed bringing in foreign observers and made clear that he is not a devotee of drawing conclusions about individuals and dismissing those responsible for failures. When a Haaretz reporter confronted Tirkel about these remarks, the former justice evaded the question saying, “I don’t remember what I said.”
Asked about the inquiry on Good Morning Ulster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness quipped
Sounds like another Widgery
One thing is for certain – it won’t be plain sailing.
(Photo by Steve Punter).