Second part of Turkel Commission report to be released on Wednesday
Some of you might recall the Turkel Commission
, whose investigation
of the Mavi Marmara incident brought high marks
from the 'international community.' I didn't realize - and maybe you didn't either. - that there's a second half to the Turkel report. That half is to be released on Wednesday
The second part of the report reflects an addition made to the
mandate on July 4, 2010, at a time when Israel was still facing intense
criticism over alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, which took place
in the Gaza Strip from December 2008 to January 2009.
heard testimony from a plethora of top officials in Israel’s legal system, as
well as from top human rights figures and academics.
Yehuda Weinstein and Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan testified on behalf of
the Justice Ministry, stating that Israel vigorously investigates itself when
there are accusations of wrongdoing, including war crimes.
that the unusually easy access to the High Court of Justice by any Israeli
citizen or Palestinian resident of the West Bank shows the “determination of the
Israeli legal system to maintain basic values and human rights even under
complex and sensitive circumstances from public and security
Yuval Diskin testified when he headed the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency), as did Maj.- Gen. (res.) Avichai Mandelblit when he was
military advocate- general, and Col. Haim Sasson, at the time commander of the
Military Police Investigations Unit.
Mandelblit spoke about the
difficulties – for Israel and any country – inherent in investigating alleged
crimes committed in the framework of combat where, without help from outside groups, the IDF often cannot locate
He contrasted these difficulties with a standard
criminal investigation where the victim comes forward and provides authorities
with information to perform an investigation.
Diskin and Sasson testified
in closed-door hearings.
Top figures in the human rights community,
including Michael Sfard from Yesh Din, Dan Yakir from the Association for Civil
Rights in Israel, and Jessica Montell from B’Tselem, also testified, mostly
claiming fundamental shortcomings in Israel’s ability to investigate
If there is another country on this planet that investigates itself as vigorously as Israel, I have not seen it. And really, we have no choice but to investigate ourselves. Forget for a minute that there is no other western country that entrusts third countries to investigate allegations like these. To whom could Israel possibly entrust such an investigation? To the United Nations? To our 'European allies'? To the Obama administration? We'd be convicted before the investigation even starts!
Labels: Mavi Marmara, Turkel Commission, war crimes