The word of the day in the Hebrew press is “Inquiry” – it is also the big question.
Many here in Israel view the latest UN actions concerning the Gaza Aid Flotilla as the UN already deciding upon a report similar to that of Judge Richard Goldstone's on the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
Where are we at then? With a Commission of Inquiry comes an international presence – something Israel does not want to see happen. In Israel, the State is currently undecided on the establishment of an Israeli commission. Israel's Justice Minister is in favor, the Defense Minister Ehud Barak opposes one, and his Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi doesn't rule it out, and last but certainly not the least Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is undecided.
In an effort to torpedo the UN-sponsored inquiry, Israel's staunchest ally America, has proposed that Israel Agree to an International Inquiry.
The assessment in Israel with this is that such an Inquiry proposed by the US would be much easier to control and deal with than that of a Goldstone-style inquiry decided upon by UN. The key difference is that an International inquiry would not have the authority to draw personal conclusions against Mr. Barak and Mr. Netanyahu, as an Israeli commission of inquiry would.
Mr. Netanyahu has essentially said to the West: “What would you have done?”
But in any case any inquiry will sum up some basic issues. Israel has imposed a blockade upon Gaza to prevent the entry of materiel that could be used (or turned into) weaponry. That has worked. Politically, the embargo is also in place in order to weaken Hamas. That has not worked. The reality is that the flotilla could not be allowed to reach Gaza.
Questions and concerns arising from the military action in taking control of the one vessel must be examined. But as far as Israel is concerned, no diplomatic imbroglio or public diplomacy embarrassment will break the blockade of Gaza. The only thing that will stand a chance, is the removal of Hamas in its current form.
Middle East Corespondent