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Israel Rejects UN Plan to Probe Flotilla Raid

  • Robert Berger

A United Nations body is moving ahead with an investigation of the deadly flotilla incident off the coast of the Gaza Strip in late May, despite Israeli opposition.

Israel has rejected a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla two months ago. Commandos stormed the ships as the vessels tried to run the Israeli blockade. Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

Israel faced world outrage, and the U.N. demanded an international investigation. But Israel refused, on grounds that a U.N. report on the Gaza War last year was biased. The Goldstone Report accused Israel of war crimes and rejected Israeli claims that the army acted in legitimate self-defense after years of Palestinian rocket attacks.

"I definitely suggest that we don't give in on any demands that would demand creating something like a Goldstone II, or anything of the kind, because we already have bitter experience," said Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein.

Instead, Israel has launched two of its own inquiries: a closed one by the military, and the other a civilian probe with foreign observers.

"We have an Israeli committee investigating, checking what exactly happened, and international observers joining the committee, watching the work of the committee. So the truth will not only be obvious to us but later to the whole world," added Edelstein.

Israel has said that commandos acted in self-defense after they were attacked by activists wielding clubs and knives aboard the flotilla. But the U.N. Human Rights Council says an independent investigation is necessary to look into what it called Israeli "violations of international law."

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