It’s remarkable that the Obama administration’s reaction to the Israeli investigation of the flotilla was so critical. As this report makes clear, it’s an all-star lineup:
The Prime Minister’s Office published, on Sunday evening, the names of those who will serve on the panel headed by retired Supreme Court justice Ya’akov Tuerkel, which will investigate Israel’s interception of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31st. International-law Professor Shabtai Rosen is an Israel Prize winner and winner of the Hague Prize for International Law. Former Technion president Amos Chorev serves as a general in the reserves.
There will be two international observers: Lord William David Trimble [of Northern Ireland], winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and international lawyer Ken Watkin, Canada’s Judge Advocate General of Canada’s forces.
The two international observers are respected authorities and men of integrity that will add creditability to the findings of the investigation. Unfortunately, their presence and involvement are necessary because the conclusions of the respected Israelis on this panel would be dismissed out of hand by much of the international community.
The Obama administration responded to this Israeli panel with tempered support and a dictate to work quickly. It still remains to be seen if the Administration will support a United Nations based panel that will convict Israel before gathering any evidence.
Considering the panel’s composition, why didn’t Obama declare this fully sufficient and rule out an inquest by the UN or another outside entity? Those working behind the scenes to head off an international inquest were certainly hoping he would do so. Instead, Obama maintained his “above-the-fray” tone of condescension and let Israel know he stands with the “international community,” not with Israel. And where is Turkey’s board of inquest? Obama has made clear: that won’t be necessary.