News / Middle East

UN Chief Establishes Gaza Flotilla Panel of Inquiry

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he has established a panel of inquiry to look into the Israeli raid of a Turkish ship on May 31, that resulted in the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists who were taking aid supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.   

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the four-member panel will be chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and its vice chair will be out-going Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.  The panel will also have one Turkish and one Israeli member who are expected to be named in the coming days.

In a pre-recorded video statement, Mr. Ban who characterized the panel as "unprecedented".  He said it would begin its work on August 10th and submit its first progress report by mid-September.  A final report is expected in February.

"I would like to thank the leaders of both Israel and Turkey for their spirit of compromise and forward looking attitude," Mr. Ban said. "I sincerely hope this will positively contribute to the [Middle East] peace process as well as improvement of the relationship between Israel and Turkey."

Relations between Israel and Turkey hit an all time low after the May 31 incident, in which a Turkish ship carrying more than 600 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tons of supplies to the Gaza Strip was boarded in international waters by Israeli commandos.  The ship was part of a flotilla of six Turkish boats.  The other five were boarded peacefully.

But the Mavi Marmara defied several warnings from the Israeli navy not to approach the Palestinian territory by sea and instead deliver its cargo to the Israeli port of Ashdod.  Eight Turks and one Turkish-American activist were shot dead in the raid.

U.N. Spokesman Martin Nesirky said the panel would not be conducting a criminal investigation, but would be reviewing national investigations conducted by Israel and Turkey, and could request clarifications or additional information relating to those investigations.

"It [the panel] will examine and identify the facts, circumstances and context of the incident," Nesirky said.  "And the final point is that it will consider and recommend ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future."

Until now, Israel had rejected calls for an international independent investigation and instead launched two internal inquiries.  A statement on the Israeli Foreign Ministry website attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Israel has nothing to hide," and it is in Israel's national interest "to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world."

Israel came in for harsh international condemnation following the raid.  

Turkey welcomed the announcement of the panel.  Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the Anatolia state news agency that he is confident the panel will work objectively, quickly and comprehensively.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid