Haaretz is now reporting that,
- Israel and the United States agreed Thursday on the nature of the Israeli investigative committee that will look into the events surrounding the takeover of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla nearly two weeks ago.
This is so bizarre and poses such a threat to the American people’s true interests that I don’t know where to begin, in commenting.
The investigative committee, due to have its establishment announced in Israel today, will be an Israeli body. Haaretz says it will be headed by a retired Israeli High Court judge and the other members will include “jurists specializing in international law as well as two observers – one American and the other European.”
Haaretz reports that,
- Contacts with the United States on forming the panel have been handled by the prime minister himself and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Their main contact has been U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. It was the Americans who proposed the nature of the committee – similar to the one that investigated the sinking of a South Korean ship by the North Koreans.
What on earth do Biden and his boss think they are doing here?
Why don’t they support an international commission of inquiry under the aegis of the United Nations?
Why do they want to give any overt American “blessing” to this Israeli venture, whose proceedings and results will surely not satisfy any of the other governments of the world that– like the U.S.– had nationals aboard the flotilla boats who now have serious claims to raise against Israel for its act of piracy on the high seas?
And yes, of course those other governments include Turkey, which along with the U.S. were the only two countries to have citizens murdered during the raid. Some 30-plus other countries, however, had citizens who were wounded (in many cases grievously), or were kidnapped on the high seas and mistreated by Israel, and had their private property, including significant amounts of expensive camera and recording equipment, stolen by Israel.
Clearly, this case is not going to go away. An all-Israeli, or Israeli-US investigation will not be trusted by many (if any) other governments– either to uncover all the facts of the matter, or to give them a fair reading in the light of international law.
Turkey is just one of the many aggrieved countries that is a close military ally of the United States and a member of NATO. Indeed, Turkey has military forces operating inside Afghanistan alongside American forces.
Why on earth would Washington want to jeopardize its relationship with Turkey and these other important allies at a time when NATO is in such a perilous position in the complex, overwhelmingly Muslim land of Afghanistan?
In the past few days, a gang of Israeli apologists around the world has cranked up an extremely sleazy campaign against Turkey. (E.g. here, or even Steven Cook, here.) This is related both to Turkey’s vote against the Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran, and to the role the Turkish government has already played in demanding justice for its citizens who were murdered, maimed, kidnapped, and robbed by the Israeli military. One big theme of the campaigns has been the idea that Turkey (population 74 million) has been “getting uppity” and needs to “know its place”, etc. Another has been a more directly anti-Muslim argument.
Obama and Biden’s decision to back Israel to the hilt over the flotilla murders will simply– and quite unnecessarily– exacerbate anti-American tensions around the world.
In his recent National Security Strategy document, Obama called for strengthening international institutions, international alliances, and the international rule of law.
The guy gives a great speech. (The first great speech he gave as president outside the U.S. was in Ankara, Turkey, in the spring of 2009.)
But no-one out “here” in the rest of the world is satisfied with speeches any more. They are looking at his actions.