After the Israeli NGO Gush Shalom filed a complaint with the Supreme Court seeking to disband the Tirkel commission investigating the Mavi Marmara disaster, the chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Yaakov Tirkel, threatened to resign (Hebrew–and in English). He demanded the government expand his powers and transform the commission into an official state commission with full powers to subpoena witnesses and define its own mandate.
Faced with a serious legal challenge and the potential disintegration of the investigation, the government relented and gave Tirkel what he wanted. But it remains to be seen what this may signify in the greater scheme of things. You remain with a commission heavily weighted toward letting the IDF off the hook for the massacre that occurred given the history of the members I’ve outlined in earlier posts here.
For proof of the expected outcome you have only to look as far as Bibi’s “mandate” to the commission when he first announced it:
The creation of this commission will confirm to the entire world that Israel acts according to law, with transparency, and full accountability. Two central principles informed my considerations: preserving the freedom of action of the IDF and trust in the military investigation; and providing a convincing response to the responsible nations within the world community (viz. the U.S.).
Clearly, Bibi doesn’t want a true commission of inquiry like the 9/11 Commission. He wants a convincing bit of hasbara which will give the IDF a clean bill of health and get the world off its back so it can go about its business of maintaining the siege and Occupation.
If Tirkel was a sophisticated advocate of Israel’s case he would make the case to Bibi that a commission that has full powers and exonerates the IDF will be more convincing to the world than an emasculated panel which does the same. I still see little likelihood that the truth will come out or anyone will be held accountable for the obvious (to all but Israel) failures of this operation.
If anyone who is serious about human rights and democratic values (that leaves you out, Gerald Steinberg), you need look no further than Gush Shalom’s High Court petition to see the absolute necessity of such Israeli NGOs acting as a watchdog over the Israeli government and its machinations.
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Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.