Turkel
The Turkel Committee convening, August 10, 2010. Photo by Pool
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The Turkel Committee investigating Israel's botched raid on a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza last May will publish the first part of its report on Sunday afternoon.

Simultaneously, an English translation of the 300-page document will be submitted to the UN panel that is probing the incident. That panel, chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, includes both Israeli and Turkish representatives.

Turkey has already submitted its report on the raid to the UN panel; it blames the incident, in which nine Turks were killed, entirely on Israel. Israel has long argued that its soldiers fired in self-defense after being brutally attacked by the passengers, but the UN panel has been awaiting the Turkel Committee's report before drawing any conclusions of its own.

It will now review both reports and then draft its conclusions.

Israel also plans to launch an international public relations campaign about the Turkel report's findings. It is not clear how the ongoing strike by Foreign Ministry personnel will affect the campaign, which the Prime Minister's Office is coordinating.

The first part of the report will discuss the legality of Israel's blockade on Gaza and of its efforts to enforce the blockade, including the flotilla raid. It will also analyze the identity and goals of the flotilla's organizers and passengers. It is expected to conclude that the raid did not violate international law, and that the soldiers indeed opened fire in self-defense.

The panel's two foreign observers, Brig. Gen. Ken Watkin of Canada and Lord David Trimble of Northern Ireland, have both signed off on the report's conclusions.

The report's second part, to be submitted in another few months, will discuss Israel's mechanisms for investigating suspected violations of international law, as well as the government decision-making process ahead of the raid.