Gaza Flotilla Probe Panel to Hold First Meeting on Wednesday

The three-man panel plus two foreign observers will investigate the events surrounding the IDF's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last month.

The Turkel committee, a panel set up to investigate the botched IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, is due to convene on Wednesday for the first time.

This preliminary meeting will allow the panel members to meet one another and to decide on their desired work method.

The members of the Gaza flotilla committee of inquiry

The government on Monday approved the establishment of the commission, which will examine the events surrounding Israel's takeover of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

A retired Supreme Court justice, Jacob Turkel, will head the three-man committee, with the accompaniment of two foreign observers.

Shabtai Rosen, a professor of international law and an Israel Prize laureate, and Amos Horev, a military expert and former president of the Technion, are the other two members of the panel.

The two international observers are David Trimble, a Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Ken Watkin, a former military judge advocate general from Canada.

The committee will tackle the legality of the blockade of Gaza and the legality of the navy's actions. The committee will also determine whether investigations of claims of war crimes and breaches of international law conform to the Western standards.

The panel will also examine the Turkish position and actions taken by the flotilla's organizers, especially the Turkish group IHH, which has alleged ties to terrorist groups, as well as the identity of the participants in the flotilla and their intentions.

Meanwhile, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said Tuesday that he will also probe the IDF raid on the Gaza flotilla, however his office's probe will also not address the legal aspects to be covered by the public committee. His probe also will not address the tactical or operational aspects of the raid, which are being investigated internally by the Israel Defense Forces.

Lindenstrauss said the investigation would focus on the legality of government's decision-making with regard to the raid, as well as with intelligence, public relations and media issues related to the incident.