After resisting the idea for two months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that Israel will cooperate in a United Nations investigation into the deadly interception of a flotilla trying to break the blockade on Gaza May 31.
Nine people died on the Mavi Marmara after attacking Israeli commandos as they boarded the ship. A number of the passengers expressed a desire to become martyrs on the ship. In addition, the sponsoring organization, Turkish-based IHH, has deep ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups.
But Israeli officials balked at the UN probe, pointing to the Goldstone report on the 2008-09 war against Hamas in Gaza. That investigation accused Israel of war crimes while overlooking incessant rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza that targeted Israeli civilians.
On Monday, Netanyahu announced Israel would participate, saying "we have nothing to hide."
"Israel's national interest to ensure that the factual truth regarding the flotilla incident would be exposed for the world to see," he said, adding that truth was "the principle we are promoting through this decision."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon then announced that the investigation would be run by former New Zealand Prime Minister Mr. Geoffrey Palmer and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. A representative of Israel and Turkey also will serve on the panel.
On June 14, the Israeli government established the Turkel Committee to examine the events surrounding the incident. The committee includes a former Supreme Court justice, along with experts in military and legal issues. Ban greeted the Committee with "with lukewarm enthusiasm" and continued to push for a UN–led investigation.
The new UN panel will receive reports from the Turkel Committee, also known as the Independent Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010, a Netanyahu adviser said.
The Israeli Navy already has concluded its own investigation. It found that intelligence reports failed to detect the presence of committed radicals on board the Mavi Marmara and the potential that created for a violent confrontation. When the commandos came under attack, they "acted accordingly" when they fired back.