Flotilla: Obama backs Israel’s self-‘investigation’

The White House yesterday expressed support for the Israeli government’s plan to launch its own self-‘investigation’ into the violent IDF commando raid in international waters that two weeks ago today killed eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-US joint national, and wounded many tens more aid-bearing flotilla participants from dozens of countries around the world.
Washington rushed to express its support for a formula under which an all-Israeli body would conduct the investigation, aided by two “international” observers who would not have voting rights within the investigatory body (and whose access to all the documents it works with is by no means assured, either.)
The White House statement– which was distributed to officers of pro-Israeli organizations by the Office of VP Joe Biden but is not yet available on the main White House website– said in part,

    We believe that Israel, like any other nation, should be allowed to undertake an investigation into events that involve its national security. … [T]he structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation. But we will not prejudge the process or its outcome, and will await the conduct and findings of the investigation before drawing further conclusions.
    While Israel should be afforded the time to complete its process, we expect Israel’s commission and military investigation will be carried out promptly.

In other words, Israel’s creation of this whitewash self-investigation meets the goal of the White House that it further postpone the day when the Obama administration feels it needs to do anything concrete about the May 31 incident, in which non-NATO member Israel attacked a peaceful convoy of boats and killed one US citizen and eight citizens of NATO ally Turkey…
The two international observers on the body include one Canadian and one UK (Northern Ireland) citizen. Interestingly, the Obamaites seemed to back away from the idea that having an American on the body would be a good idea.
Anyway, the Israeli-US plan on the investigation has already come in for some strong criticism, including from Turkey and Mahmoud Abbas. Further criticisms can be expected in the days ahead.

14 thoughts on “Flotilla: Obama backs Israel’s self-‘investigation’

  1. David

    Imagine the blowback Obama would receive if he announced he was letting British Petroleum investigate what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico.

  2. bevin

    And not just any Northern Ireland citizen either: Trimble is the former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. A more appropriate choice for this tribunal it would be difficult to imagine.

  3. Frank al Irlandi

    Aw Helena, look a bit closer.
    Have you had a look at the makeup of the Inquiry.
    A 93 year old Law Professor and an 84 year ex General chaired by a Judge who doesn’t believe in the process, monitored by a founding member of Friends of Israel.
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/tag/israeli-supreme-court/
    No wonder Haaretz is speechless with rage.
    We should be too.
    Netanyahu has given us ‘concerned citizens’ the finger

  4. pangloss

    The Canadian appointed by the Harper gov’t of Canada is not necessarily a stellar character but likely fitting for the Israeli show:
    http://bit.ly/cZ58LM
    God my country has gone to s%^t in a hand bag.

  5. Jack

    Helena, why are you so often surprised that Obama is just as in thrall to AIPAC and the Israel Lobby as the other Democrat (and republican) politicians? Obama signaled early on that he might occasionally say something other than total agreement and praise for everything Israel does, but he would still follow the AIPAC line on all matters if Israel asked. Has he yet said one word about the murder of one US citizen in the flotilla raid and the maiming of another by the IDF while observing a peaceful demonstration? Obama leaves little doubt about which country’s interests are foremost in his mind, and it is not the US. All progressives should be looking for an alternative in 2012.

  6. pangloss

    I should correct my previous note. It was the Harper gov’t of Canada that appointed Watkins to the Israeli panel. Israel requested that Watkins be 1 of the international observers. Nice pick Israel. Theyt certainly know how to pick them, eh.

  7. bevin

    This trick of whitewashing war crimes by Enquiry is growing a bit thin.
    If you look at the Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus website you will find a detailed critique of last week’s serious and objective enquiry: the one South Korea held to “prove” North Korea’s cupability in mthe sinking of its corvette.
    Here’s an excerpt:
    “In contrast to these descriptions of the JIG document as a solid body of evidence produced by a respectable group of international experts, the analysis below will show that the 5-page statement, particularly the section that blames North Korea for attacking and sinking the Cheonan, which was produced by a group of (5)states that were belligerents against North Korea during the Korean War and could be again if a new conflict erupts, contains inherent political bias. As a result, claims of an impartial and objective investigation should not be accepted at face value but subjected to scrutiny.”
    The missing nation from the six allies in the Korean War? Turkey.
    Then there was the Lockerbie trial which was so embarassingly rotten that the ‘guilty’ party was released.
    And before that the Open and Shut case against various instruments of Syrian Conspiracy to kill Lebanese politicians: that was headed by a German jurist I believe who is something of a specialist.
    And then of course there was David Trimble’s friend Lord Hutton. Which brings in the Blair connection.
    It is as if the “west’ had determined to use up all its credibility, and all the credibility in its respect for the rule of law, as quickly as possible, so it can get down to the business of torture and murder the way Israel does it, without inhibition or anything approaching excuses.

  8. Christiane

    Shame, shame on Obama, for being so partial to the Israelians and supporting such an alibi inquiry commission while the UN and most of other countries support an independant inquiry.
    But I don’t think it will finish like that, the Turks may well put their case in front of the International Court in La Haye; at least, I hope so.
    The US is really stupid to support the Israelians so unconditionnally whatever the Likudniks there do. They will loose the Turkish ally soon. Then they will loose the Egyptians, depending on what succeed when Mubarak leave power. Then they will be even more entranched with their single impossible ally : Israel. They will be alone against all.

  9. Frank al Irlandi

    Today’s Daily Telegraph admits that a deal has been cooked up to let people away with Piracy and Murder in return for canned fruit and cinnamon.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7827933/Gaza-blockade-may-be-eased-within-days-after-inquiry-deal.html
    Mr Netanyahu has angrily denounced such suggestions, insisting that the inquiry would be lawful and transparent. He gave warning that enemies, and even some allies, were involved in a campaign to destroy Israel.
    “Dark forces from the Middle Ages are raging against us,” he said. “We find ourselves in the midst of a difficult and continuous battle against the State of Israel.”
    But even some Israeli newspapers questioned the nature of an inquiry which will not be allowed to interview military officers involved in the raid and will instead focus on questions of international law. They also pointed out that the youngest member of the investigating committee is 75, while the oldest is 93.
    “This will be a particularly inexpensive committee,” columnist Nahum Barnea noted in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. “There is no need to hear witnesses, and no need to crosscheck testimonies. What is necessary is a good kettle, a few cups of tea and a good bell, to ensure that the committee does not fall into a coma.”

  10. Don Bacon

    HC: “The two international observers on the body include one Canadian and one UK (Northern Ireland) citizen. Interestingly, the Obamaites seemed to back away from the idea that having an American on the body would be a good idea.”
    It needs to be emphasized that these two non-Israelis are observers, and are not “on the body.”
    The committee will be headed by former Israeli Supreme Court judge Jacob Terkel, along with international law expert Shabtai Rosen, and Maj.-Gen (res.) Amos Horev, who formerly served as president of the Haifa Technion. The international observers are Lord David Trimble, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland, and Brig. Gen. Ken Watkin, the former judge advocate general of the Canadian armed forces.
    So there will be a three-man Israeli committee with two foreign observers.
    The first observer, Trimble, joined the “Friends of Israel initiative” launched in Paris some two weeks ago in which Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, was also involved. Gold is considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. John Bolton is another member of this initiative.
    The second international observer, Watkin, was implicated in the Canadian Afghan detainee issue in which several detainees arrested by the Canadian Forces went missing or were tortured following their transfer to the Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security. Mr. Watkin refused to answer questions when called to testify in Canada’s House of Commons about whether he was directed to authorize the transfers or had knowledge of Canadian diplomatic reports of torture, and claimed that solicitor-client privilege owed to the Government of Canada prevented him answering the House’s questions.

  11. Edward

    I wonder how far the U.S. government is willing to go to support Israeli policies. Are they willing to sacrifice NATO? Recently articles have been appearing arguing that Israel is becoming a liability for the U.S.

  12. kassandra

    Whoops, I think Netanyahoo has already leaked the results of the inquiry.
    There’s only the Mark Regev verision left. Israel confiscated all materials, laptops, cameras, cell telephones, and etc. from the passengers. They were left with only the clothes on their backs and their passpors. Israel has had the ships in custody. No izzy military can be questioned. Regev has the report written already.

  13. Ken Ward

    I learned of Trimble’s Friends of Israel involvement on reading Ha’aretz immediately after his appointment was announced. I haven’t seen this relevant background in any US newspaper so far. Foreign Policy’s item on all the Obama administration’s alleged pressure on Israel to start an inquiry as soon as possible naturally didn’t mention Trimble’s dubious credentials.

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