Israel opposes international probe on flotilla raid

Almahti Alharati, an Irish national injured in Israel's deadly naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla on Monday, arrives in Ankara on Wednesday. Photo: AP.  

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman came out on Thursday against an international commission of inquiry investigating the events surrounding Israel’s takeover this week of a flotilla carrying aid and activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

At the same time, he said Israel need have no concerns about forming an internal commission.

"We have an interest in setting up such a committee on our own, not due to outside pressure," he told Israel Radio.

"We have excellent jurists ... one of whom will be willing to take it on himself, and if they want to include an international member of some sort in their committee that’s alright too," he said.

Israeli naval commandos seized the six ship flotilla early Monday morning, after the ships refused order to change course and set sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod instead of the Gaza Strip.

In an escalation of violence on one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed, unleashing a wave of international criticism against Israel.

The criticism has been particularly vehement from Turkey, under whose flag the Maramara sailed, and Turkish parliament members have urged a review of Ankara's ties with Israel.

Mr. Lieberman told Israel Radio that the deterioration of relations between Israel and its once firm ally had to do with "domestic reasons within Turkish society". "People don’t remember that in the 1970s Iran was one of Israel's best friends, and after a profound and dramatic change in Iranian society after the Khomeini revolution, everything changed. Turkey too, until a few years ago, was Israel's friend," he said.

He said the downward spiral in Israel-Turkey ties had begun even before the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office. "The change in Turkish rhetoric is due to the internal situation and internal tensions and changes within society."

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 5:41:53 PM |

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