Joseph Ciechanover
Joseph Ciechanover Photo by Moti Kimche
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Joseph Ciechanover, a former Foreign Ministry director general and Defense Ministry legal adviser was named Saturday as the Israeli representative to the United Nations review panel investigating Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in late May. The raid by the Israel Navy resulted in the deaths of nine passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara.

In 1997, Ciechanover headed the committee that investigated the failed assassination attempt in Jordan against senior Hamas official Khaled Meshal. The panel determined that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then in his first term, had acted appropriately in connection with the incident.

Ciechanover had been a candidate to head the independent public committee examining the flotilla incident, a position that ultimately went to retired Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel.

Ciechanover, 77, is a former chairman of the board of both Israel Discount Bank and El Al Israel Airlines.

The UN panel is headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer. Ciechanover was chosen to represent Israel on the panel following discussions by a team headed by national security adviser Uzi Arad and representatives of the foreign, defense and justice ministries. A senior Jerusalem official said the appointment was finalized after consultations Friday with Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and was made in light of the candidate's diplomatic and legal experience as well as his international standing. The UN panel is expected to begin its work on Tuesday.

Netanyahu is scheduled to testify before the Turkel committee tomorrow.