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UN for `thorough` Israeli probe into bloody raid on Gaza ship

UN has underlined the need for a "thorough Israeli investigation" into the bloody raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31.



New York: The United Nations has
underlined the need for a "thorough Israeli investigation"
into the bloody raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31
as the world body said the Secretary-General`s proposal for an
international inquiry remains on the table.

"A thorough Israeli investigation is important and
could fit with the Secretary-General`s proposal, which would
fully meet the international community`s expectation for a
credible and impartial investigation," Farhan Haq, Ban
ki-moon’s associate spokesperson told journalists.
"The Secretary-General`s proposal for an international
inquiry remains on the table," Haq said, adding "He (Ban)
hopes for a positive Israeli response."

Last week, Israel approved a government-appointed
commission called the Independent Public Commission, to look
into the Israeli raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May
31 that killed nine people and led to a burst of international
outrage.

It will look at?the legality of the blockade of Gaza
and the legality of the Israeli navy`s actions, besides
determining?whether investigations of claims of war crimes and
breaches of international law conform to the Western
standards.

The probe panel is being led by a retired Israeli
Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel and includes two foreigners
- Lord David Trimble, a Nobel Peace laureate from Northern
Ireland, and Brig. Gen. Ken Watkin, former judge advocate
general of the Canadian Forces.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council has decided to
appoint a fact-finding mission to investigate the deadly
operation aboard the Turkish ship.
The Council based in Geneva passed a resolution
sponsored by Pakistan, Sudan and the Palestinians that
described the incident as an "outrageous act".

It decided to send an "independent international
fact-finding mission" to probe violations of international law
and human rights law.

The Israeli authorities have questioned whether the
objective of ship was solely humanitarian since their soldiers
were allegedly attacked first by knives and metal rods.

Since then, many nations, especially Turkey, support
an international investigation into the probe. But the United
States has been more muted in its criticism of its key ally
and backed a domestic inquiry.

Shortly after the raid, the UN Security Council also
issued a presidential statement condemning Israel?s
interception of the aid convoy and calling for a "prompt,
impartial, credible and transparent investigation."

UN says it will distribute Israeli-seized cargo to Gaza

The United Nations said
today that it has agreed to take possession of a cargo of
Gaza-bound goods seized by Israel and distribute it to the
besieged Palestinian coastal enclave.

"The United Nations has obtained the consent of the cargo
owners of the three Turkish-registered vessels to take
possession of and responsibility for the entire cargo and
ensure its timely distribution in Gaza for humanitarian
purposes," UN Middle East coordinator Robert Serry told the UN
Security Council.

Israel had seized the goods aboard the Turkish-registered
vessels in a May 31 pre-dawn assault in international waters
which left nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists dead.

The next day, the UN Security Council, meeting in
emergency session, called for "a prompt, impartial, credible
and transparent investigation" of the raid and demanded
immediate release of all six vessels and the hundreds of
Palestinian supporters who were on board.

Serry said Israel had now agreed to release the entire
seized cargo to the UN in Gaza, "on the understanding that it
is for the United Nations to determine its appropriate
humanitarian use in Gaza."

"We have reason to believe that the fact authorities in
Gaza (Hamas) will respect the independence of UN programming
in this regard," he added.

He also expressed appreciation for Turkey`s "constructive
role" in facilitating this process.

Israel has maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip since
2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of the
territory.

PTI

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