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Israel's Cabinet Approves Inquiry Into Flotilla Raid

After Israel raided a flotilla that attempted to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip, many countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, called for an impartial investigation into the incident.

Yesterday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, asked his cabinet to approve the creation of "a special, independent public Commission to inquire into the aspects ... of the actions taken by the State of Israel to prevent the arrival of ships to Gaza on [May 31]."

The committee, which won cabinet approval this morning, will be chaired by Jacob Turkel, a retired Israeli Supreme Court justice, The New York Times reports.

According to a statement by Netanyahu, "the Commission will submit conclusions on the question of whether the actions that the state of Israel took to prevent the arrival of ships to Gaza and their goals, as well as other related matters, were in accordance with the rules of international law."

It will not be able to hear testimony from soldiers, and it will be prohibited from assigning individual responsibility.

There will be two foreign observers "of the highest standing, with vast experience in the fields of military law and human rights," Lord David Trimble and Brig. Gen. Ken Watkin.

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Their inclusion, The Times notes, "is intended to add credibility to the inquiry and to secure foreign support for it."

"The Commission will set its own schedule and its modus operandi," Netanyahu said.

At the end of its work, the Commission will submit its report to the cabinet, via the Prime Minister. Shortly thereafter, it will be made public.