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Israel on Monday announced the establishment of an independent public commission of inquiry into its actions when intercepting a Gaza-bound flotilla of ships last month. These are brief profiles of the members of the three-man commission and its two international observers:

Chairman, Jacob Turkel, 75 - Former Israeli Supreme Court justice, born in Tel Aviv in 1935, an expert in civil law retired from the bench in 2005. Described by Israeli pundits as a conservative jurist, who also say he has little experience in inquiry commissions. He still sits on a military court appeals panel.

Member, Shabtai Rosen, 93 - British-born professor of international law at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv. A former diplomat who served as Israel's deputy head of mission to the United Nations between 1967-71 and ambassador to the UN in Geneva 1971-74. An Israel Prize laureate for jurisprudence (1960), he won the Hague Prize for International Law in 2004.

Member, Amos Horev, 86 - A retired major-general in the Israeli army and former president of the Haifa Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Also formerly chief scientist of Israel's defense establishment and a leading proponent in Israeli industry.

Observer, David Trimble, 65 (Northern Ireland) - The first minister of Northern Ireland. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he was instrumental in securing the Ulster power-sharing agreement between Protestants whom he represented and Catholics known as the Good Friday Agreement that was brokered by U.S. mediator George Mitchell, currently a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

Observer, Ken Watkin (Canada) - The former head of the Canadian military's judiciary holding the rank of brigadier-general, Watkin was legal adviser to a Canadian military/civilian board of inquiry investigating the activities of the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group in Somalia. From 1995-2005 he was counsel in respect of various investigations and inquiries arising from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He has also served as legal adviser to the Canadian navy and to Canadian commanders in Bosnia.