Experts mock Israeli inquiry into attack on flotilla
After a marathon meeting of his inner cabinet on Monday that approved the inquiry's parameters, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was awaiting the agreement of the US President, Barack Obama, before making an official announcement.
Media reports said the panel would include several leading Israeli maritime law experts and two foreign observers, but would have no power to compel witnesses to appear, and its findings would have no legal effect. Nor would it be allowed to interrogate any of the soldiers or officers who took part in the commando raid.
Advertisement: Story continues belowA leading Israeli jurist, Amnon Rubinstein, who is among those approached to be a part of the inquiry, denounced the decision not to appoint a formal commission of inquiry.
''There is coffee without caffeine and there is an investigative committee without an investigation,'' Professor Rubinstein said yesterday.
''When you don't investigate, it's not an investigative committee. I think that only a legal investigative committee, according to the law with full powers, the exact opposite of what the Defence Minister wants, can help Israel.''
Professor Yehezkel Dror, who was a member of the Winograd commission that investigated Israel's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, said the proposed committee would not go far enough.
Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest-selling daily newspaper, the political analyst Boaz Okon branded the proposed inquiry a whitewash.
''An investigative committee without investigators - that is the recipe by means of which the government is trying to ensure the failure of the investigation into the flotilla events,'' he said.
''If the government wished to make a real investigation, it would form a state commission of inquiry or a government investigative committee that is headed by a judge.''