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Israeli Chair of Gaza Flotilla Attack Investigation Doesn’t Believe It Should Exist

yaakov tirkel

Supreme Court justice Yaakov Tirkel to chair Gaza panel, whose premises he disputes (Haaretz)

This is getting damned strange. The Obama administration and Israel have been haggling for a week over the nature and composition of the supposedly independent commission which will investigate the Gaza flotilla disaster. We hear that the U.S. demanded that someone of judicial “stature” like a Supreme Court justice be appointed as chair. Bibi finally acquiesced and appointed Justice Yaakov Tirkel. But there’s one problem. The incoming panel chair doesn’t seem to believe in the panel. Here is how Haaretz characterized the judge’s remarks in a searing editorial attacking the commission:

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.

One of the two international “observers” David Trimble, is a co-founder of the newly launched Israel advocacy group, Friends of Israel, joining John Bolton, Dore Gold, and Spain’s former right-wing prime minister, Jose Aznar.  At its founding, the group released this statement:

This initiative “is promoted by people who are not Jewish and whose motivations are based on the deep conviction that Israel is part of the Western world. In fact, today Israel is a fundamental actor for the future of the West. Although the peace process is important, the members of Friends of Israel Initiative are more concerned about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran since these are threats affecting not only Israel, but the entire world.

…The sponsors of this Initiative believe there is no West without Israel.”

Ironically, Friends of Israel announced its inauguration the day after the Mavi Marmara massacre.  Can anyone possibly believe that David Trimble is a disinterested party capable of sitting in judgment (even as an observer) of the IDF’s behavior in this matter?

Also joining the Israeli investigative panel will be an IDF major general.  Does anyone detect a slight conflict of interest here?  How can a senior officer of the IDF sit in judgment of the IDF in what is supposed to be an “independent” panel?

Haaretz’ editorial also called the flotilla investigative body a “farce:”

The government’s efforts to avoid a thorough and credible investigation of the flotilla affair seem more and more like a farce. The conclusions of an ostensible probe are intended to justify retroactively the decision to blockade Gaza, to forcibly stop the Turkish aid flotilla in international waters and to use deadly force on the deck of the Mavi Marmara.

To make the costume seem credible, the Prime Minister’s Bureau asked a retired Supreme Court justice, Yaakov Tirkel, to chair the committee. Alongside him will sit foreign observers in order to legitimize the conclusions in international public opinion.

…As far as Netanyahu is concerned, it will be enough for television channels to broadcast footage of dark-suited jurists, and politicians addressing them, to present the semblance of an “examination.”

The Obama administration, ever willing to throw out a lifeline to Israel’s right-wing government, welcomed the fraudulent panel:

…The White House press secretary issued a statement hailing the Israeli announcement as an “important step forward.” The statement added that “the structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation,” as sought by the United Nations Security Council.

“But,” the White House cautioned, “we will not prejudge the process or its outcome and will await the conduct and findings of the investigation before drawing further conclusions.”

He better give himself that “out,” as this panel will satisfy no one but the B-boys, Bibi and (possibly) Barack.

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Norman June 14, 2010, 6:41 AM

    One does have to admit, in light of this putative probe, that Israel remains a steady rock of no surprises, infinitely dependable.

  • mary June 14, 2010, 10:47 AM

    The “findings” of this investigation will be just as credible as Israel’s “findings” after “investigating” Rachel Corrie’s death.

  • Paul June 14, 2010, 12:16 PM

    If I remember correctly, Trimble was suspected of being connected to one of the banned protestant paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, a group involved in sectarian murder. There was a book to that affect, whose name now escapes me. Moreover, there is an Ulster protestants myth about being a lost tribe of Israel, hence the Israeli flags in Protestant areas of Belfast like the Shankill Road or at Glasgow Rangers Football games. Trimble is as neutral as Abe Foxman and as ethical as Chuck Schumer.

  • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 12:56 PM

    [comment deleted for violating comment rules]

    • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 1:03 PM

      [comment deleted for violating comment rules]

      • mary June 14, 2010, 1:41 PM

        Racists? What’s with your own remark about Erdogan being an Islamist if not making a religious remark?

        BTW, you need to proofread before you post.

        • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 8:34 PM

          Sorry that English is not my mothertongue.
          You have to study the basics, it seems, since RACISM was never connected to a religion. A race cannot be choosen by a person and it has no influence on his values and culutre. Religion has!

          • mary June 14, 2010, 8:46 PM

            Keep the Islamophobic comments to yourself, then. You’re enough of an ass without them; do yourself a favor.

          • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 9:12 PM

            Dear Mary, nice that you switch to curses and ugly language, but seemingly that is what you people do, when they can’t argue.
            BTW: It is NOT ‘islamophobic’ to call someone an ‘Islamist’, which is actually a term from the liberal left to destinguish between ‘nice’ Islam and radical Islam, which they call ‘Islamism’. So even when I use your language, you have a problem with it. BTW: Erdogan is against this distinction, since there is no difference between Islamists and Muslims according to him. What about cursing him a bit?

          • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:36 PM

            “Ass” is a curse? Get a grip. An insult for sure, but not a curse.

          • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 9:46 PM

            Ahh, sorry, just an insult.

  • Norman June 14, 2010, 1:47 PM

    My God, Mr. Becker, it’s really quite impossible to determine which is more inadequate, your thought processes or your use of English. You remind me of those pathetic creatures oil-slimed in the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously you’ve been slimed for what I take is many years in the Gulf of Israeli propaganda. Interestingly, though, I think what principally separates your conclusions from those of a Mr. Dershowitz, say, is that in expressing them he really is more adept in the use of English. Improve yours and you might eventually be hired by him or some other Likudnik. Be careful, though, you don’t want some well-intentioned rescuer to hose off all that slime; if that happened, you might not sink.

    • Ulrich J. Becker June 14, 2010, 8:37 PM

      Definitely my English is bad, but if someone cares for arguments and reasons he can talk and forget about the formalities. that’s the way we israelis are: we don’t give so much on etiquette like the europeans, but on reasons and arguments. ;)

      You are just pathetic, you don’t want to talk about arguments so you laugh about my English. Funny guy. Do you laugh about handicapped people, too?

      • Richard Silverstein June 14, 2010, 9:34 PM

        you don’t want to talk about arguments so you laugh about my English

        I don’t think it was right to criticize yr command of English. I wouldn’t want anyone not to comment here because they felt their English wasn’t good enough. But I’m frankly shocked by yr views. That is what bothers me, not yr English.

  • Tom Dennen June 15, 2010, 9:09 AM

    Gaza Flotilla Pirates – Why Is Everyone So Afraid To Try Them At The Hague?

    The attack on the Turkish liner Marmara was an act of piracy, of that there is little doubt.

    Piracy however, while defined by Roget’s dictionary as ‘robbery or illegal violence at sea’, privateering, state-sponsored piracy authorized by national authorities, is another matter, which may be why a ‘self-investigation’ may be extremely harmful to a nation-state whose reputation is deservedly in tatters:

    And what indeed would appointing Jack the Ripper to investigate London prostitution or Jeffrey Dahmer to set the investigative body’s daily menu do to further such a reputation?

    Come, come! Surely there is some reason left in the world?

  • BarbaraDiamond June 15, 2010, 10:18 AM

    “Letting Israel investigate the attack on the aid flotilla is like letting Charlie Manson investigate the Sharon Tate killings.”

  • iris June 16, 2010, 7:52 AM

    Wonder if anyone has some info on Ken Watkin. His Wiki bio says he is a new convert to Judaism, at quite an old age. Anything on the circumstances ?
    An Israeli news outlet reports that he is a good friend of both Netanyahu and Shimon Peres…

    His career seems ok, but his personal and social nexus is interesting and nothing found on the net, like what is his Jewish affiliation (precise denomination, Rabbis, congregation) as of 2007 and in what circumstances he had befriended Peres.

    • mary June 16, 2010, 8:14 AM

      If he is a “good friend” of Netanyahu and Peres, how does anyone even pretend to believe any illusion of impartiality?

    • Richard Silverstein June 16, 2010, 4:47 PM

      He was the top Canadian military judge. Anyone affiliated with any military is suspect as an impartial judge in this case. There are too many top generals in countries like the U.S., Britain & Canada who think the IDF is honky dory & are apologists for it.

  • Rod Sucj June 16, 2010, 1:46 PM

    Richard, here’s another reason to doubt the impartiality of David Trimble. He opposed the 2nd British inquiry into the Bloody Sunday massacre of 14 peaceful demonstrators in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, because it could expose the British officers and troops to prosecution. That report was just released and it fully exonerated the protesters. How likely is it that Trimble would recommend prosecution for the flotilla massacre if he opposed even the formation of another government inquiry because it could entail prosecution? Former British ambassador Craig Murray has the details http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/06/a_tale_of_two_i.html

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