JERUSALEM, Israel – IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has appointed Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland to lead a military probe into the May 31 operation aboard the Mavi Marara, the Turkish-owned flotilla flagship.
Two days after the operation, CBN News talked with Eiland. You can read that story here.
An elite unit of the IDF troops boarded the ship when it flouted the Navy’s instructions to reroute to the port at Ashdod and continued sailing toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the naval blockade. The interception ended in a firefight that killed 10 pro-Palestinian activists on board.
The panel of senior military personnel will re-examine the IDF’s handling of the situation and present its findings by July 4.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the seven-member Security Cabinet called for a separate inquiry by a panel of justices experienced in international and marine law. Two international justices will be invited to participate as observers, at least one of whom will be an American.
The panel will also probe legal precedent of the naval blockade and Israeli control of the border crossings with the Gaza Strip.
In a speech before the Knesset plenum on Monday, refuting a no-confidence motion submitted by Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) said the panel intended “to achieve an investigation of the events.”
Barak also commended the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 troops who took part in the operation aboard the Turkish ship.
“The soldiers of the IDF Naval Special Forces acted in an optimal way during the flotilla takeover,” Barak said. “I can guarantee you there is no perfect operation from an intelligence standpoint, which unfolds according to plan. An assessment ahead of time is never perfect. An operation does not unfold like a movie; a military operation is not a reality show.
"In the flotilla raid, the goal was achieved. Without self-control, courage and professionalism from the IDF soldiers, there would have been far more casualties. I salute the IDF soldiers,” the defense minister said.
“The Israeli government, the public, and friends of Israel feel pride about the flotilla takeover. We are facing difficult challenges and numerous threats. Even in times of crisis and of danger, we must continue on our way of national unity,” Barak said.