Israeli Members of Flotilla Inquiry Panel Meet for First Time

Turkel committee to cost NIS 3-5 million

The cost of the Turkel committee of inquiry into the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla is estimated around NIS 3-5 million, financial sources in Jerusalem told Haaretz yesterday. The estimates are based on office rent and office expenses, computers, stenography and staff, and other costs.

From left: Horev, Turkel and Rosenne yesterday.
Government Press Office

No official request has yet been submitted by the Prime Minister's Office to the Knesset Finance Committee, but the inquiry committee's cost is expected to be deducted from the Prime Minister's Office budget. The committee members will be remunerated for the time they dedicate to the committee.

The Winograd committee of inquiry into the Second Lebanon War cost the state NIS 8 million, but the scope of its inquiry was much larger than that facing the Turkel committee.

Meanwhile, the committee had its first meeting in Jerusalem yesterday. The meeting was defined as introductory, allowing the committee members to get to know each other and to set up the working protocol for the committee. The two foreign observers, David Trimble and Ken Watkin have not yet arrived in Israel.

Retired Justice Jacob Turkel, the chair of the committee, said after the meeting it was decided the meeting would be held in Hebrew, with simultaneous translation for the observers. "We are doing everything necessary to set up the administrative teams in the shortest possible time," the chairman said. "The committee will work to begin deliberating as soon as possible."

Turkel and the other two members, Professor Shabtai Rosenne and retired Major General Amos Horev, have begun searching for a spokesperson for the committee. The role would be an important one, as Turkel said many of the meetings will be open to the public and the media. Turkel asked media consultant Amiram Fleischer to take the post, but Fleischer refused. He said he will assist the committee voluntarily in the next few days, until a permanent spokesman is located.