The Israeli press continues to publish stories centered around last weeks flotilla crisis.
Today it is all about the fact that Israel's Chief-of-Staff has appointed a military committee to check it's naval commandos' seizure of the main flotilla ship, the Turkish flagged Marmara. The Chairman has wasted no time – with the first discussions taking place today.
What we have here is a commission of experts who have been given a limited authority to investigate what took place upon the flotilla. One report suggested it's purpose was to shed light upon the affair. This Commission is to include senior jurists, retired diplomats and two foreign observers. It will concentrate on legal aspects and will not address issues centered around the decision-making process nor upon what has widely been perceived as the public diplomacy failure.
All this has occurred because Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu wishes to convince the U.S. Administration that Israel is moving forward with an investigation which President Obama will be satisfied with and thus give it credibility in the International community. The alternative is an international commission investigating the affair – something Israel stringently does not want.
With this seven member Commission of Inquiry, the Chief-of-Staff wishes for the committee to check out the Israel Defense Forces and to study the lessons of the military operation against flotilla. Interestingly, soldiers themselves will not be investigated, but political leaders will give testimony. In all this the big question remains unanswered at this hour: Will the US be satisfied with an Israeli commission?
Some observers at this moment have a bad feeling about it… that the investigation is merely into the professional aspects of the Marmara operation. This action, they feel, does not come close enough to what the US has implied should happen, the UN has said it wants, and what Turkey and the Arab bloc have demanded – thus they are worried it will do little to lessen the international pressure upon Israel.
I'll be keeping you abreast of the developments tomorrow – live – on the Harvest Show. See you there!
Middle East Correspondent