I have lamented before about the failure of Hamas and Fatah to come to a reconciliation agreement. The bifurcation of Palestinian politics makes the current push for peace rather impossible and if Palestinians, Israelis and Americans were serious about creating a Palestinians state that includes Gaza, they would find some way to accommodate and moderate Hamas (reconciliation with Fatah would arguably help with the moderation, but that is for a different post).
[tweetmeme] The main difference between Hamas and Fatah? The latter has accepted and recognized Israel while the latter has said an independent Palestinian state must come before Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state. There is, though, one thing both parties can agree on: the internal, ‘independent’ commission set up by Ismail Haniyeh saidIsrael to investigate the Flotilla murders is a shame and a farce.
In a meeting with the Bahraini delegation, Gaza PM that the Israeli investigation is simply a means to “mislead and deceive world public opinion, avoiding international demands for an independent commission.” Haniyeh supported Turkey’s call for a UN backed international investigation while saying “the terrorist cannot investigate himself.”
Meanwhile Palestinian [West Bank] President Mahmoud Abbas has called the probe biased, saying “the fact that the committee is chaired by an Israeli judge means it won’t be neutral. what is needed is the formation of a committee from impartial parties. So we don’t think this committee will achieve neutral results.”
It only takes a quick look at the composition of the inquiry committee to see why Palestinians are worried for the outcome of the probe. From Mondoweiss:
Two foreign observers–who won’t have the right to vote on anything related to the commission–will indeed be on the panel, but one them is David Trimble, who, as Richard Silverstein points out, “is a co-founder of the newly launched Israel advocacy group, Friends of Israel, joining John Bolton, Dore Gold, and Spain’s former right-wing prime minister, Jose Aznar.” Is there better company than John Bolton and Dore Gold to be close with when joining an “credible” inquiry investigating Israel’s deadly use of force against unarmed activists trying to break the siege of Gaza?
Other participants of the “impartial” committee include a former Israeli general. No Israeli soldiers will be questioned.
I find it troubling that no soldiers will be questioned by the committee. By not questioning soldiers about the true timeline of events aboard the Mavi Marmara, the committee is, by default, not looking into the decisions to revert to lethal force by the commandos. Admittedly, the inquiry committee is not tasked to question whether Israel committed faults, but rather to prove that it did not.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Monday’s cabinet meeting that the main goal of the Gaza flotilla probe is to prove to the world that the Israel Navy operation on the Gaza-bound aid ship was appropriate and met international standards.
“The government decision will make it clear to the world that Israel is acting legally, responsibly, and with complete transparency,” said Netanyahu.
The international community wants an investigation into what really happened on the Mavi Marmara, but Israel’s inquiry committee isn’t even trying to answer that question; its job description more akin to a defense lawyer than an independent judge.
Photo from RNW