The fix is in, or almost in. Haaretz writes that Israel and the Obama administration have come up with a satisfactory (to them) formula for an Israeli investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident,. If the report is to be believed, approval of the plan was held up by a U.S. demand that the panel be chaired by someone of stature like a former Israeli Supreme Court justice:
It appears that it was the Americans who insisted that the committee be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice to give the panel greater credibility.
Credibility indeed. Something that will be in short supply given this plan. There will also be one American “observer” and one European. Previous reports indicated that the Israeli government will not allow panel members to question any members of the Marmara attack team. The very commandos who suppressed the ship’s passengers killing 9 of them in the process will be protected from inquiry. So how will the committee actually be able to investigate the incident in any serious way when it is hobbled in such a substantial way?
Here is how Haaretz describes the group’s mandate:
The committee will have a mandate to examine whether the blockade of the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, whether the Israel Navy’s takeover of the aid flotilla in international waters was legal and whether the use of force by Israeli troops and other aspects of the operation were legal. Netanyahu, Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are all expected to testify before the committee.
What I want to know is who will buy into this plan? Who will be mollified by it, persuaded by it? Who will feel that justice has been done by this charade? Of course, there is one actor who should be involved in this process but isn’t, Turkey. Its citizens were killed. It is the one party who should be consulted and mollified if anyone is. The fact that Turkey is the country that dare not speak its name in this matter (not even the Haaretz report mentions it) indicates just how lame the entire process is. Further, it only reinforces that there is only one legitimate path and that is a UN investigation.
The Weekly Standard’s Aipac-friendly Bill Kristol published a story it hoped would embarrass the Obamaniks (specifically Ambassador Susan Rice who it claims devised the “hare-brained scheme”), claiming the administration had agreed to a UN investigation. Obama’s people denied it immediately. No, No a thousand times, No. Did you hear me say, No? Let me say it again, No. In fact, I half-wondered whether Kristol made it up in order to force Obama to reject the proposal before the administration had taken any public position on it. Back ’em into a corner so to speak.