State Comptroller to Probe Israel's Raid on Gaza Flotilla

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said his investigation would focus on the government's decision-making regarding the raid that left nine Turkish activists dead.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Tuesday said he will probe Israel's deadly raid last month on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla.

Micha Lindenstrauss - Emil Salman
Emil Salman

In a letter to MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), who heads the Knesset's State Control Committee, 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 May 31 incident that left nine Turkish activists dead.

Lindenstrauss said, however, that the probe conducted by his office would not address the tactical or operational aspects of the raid, which are being investigated internally by the Israel Defense Forces.

The comptroller's investigation will also not address the legal aspects to be covered by the public committee, headed by retired Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel, which was created by the government this week to look into the Gaza flotilla events.

That committee also includes two international observers and will probe the legality of the Israel Navy's actions.

A number of the issues to be investigated are already being addressed as part of the comptroller's follow-up on previous reports issued by his office, including those issued in the wake of the Second Lebanon War.

In 2007, the comptroller issued a report that dealt with the readiness and functioning of national bodies responsible for public relations campaigns prior to and after the Second Lebanon War one year earlier. That report probed the actions of the Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and the IDF.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli peace activists petitioned the High Court of Justice to void the government's decision to establish the public committee and instead create a national committee to probe the incident.

The petitioners claim that the decision to create a public committee lacks reason and say that the committee does not have the authority to properly probe the events that led to the deadly raid.

MK Hasson, who requested the comptroller's investigation, said on Tuesday that "the state comptroller's decision to examine the political echelon's actions in the Gaza flotilla affair comes at the right place and time, as the government has not given the Turkel committee a mandate to probe the political decision-making and the subjects of intelligence and public relations."

Hasson added that the comptroller's probe will shed light on the events and will "expose the failings in the process of the political leaders' decision-making and will help prevent similar events in the future."