The Star newspaper in Turkey reported Wednesday that the Turkish government decided not to send a new ambassador to Israel unless it cooperates with the International Investigation Committee in charge of investigating the deadly Israeli attack against the Freedom Flotilla in international waters. The paper quoted a government official stating that his country decided to freeze military deals with Israel, including deals to update fighter jets, tanks and missiles. The deal is estimated at about US$7 billion dollars.
Turkey also decided to suspend joint military exercises with Israel, agreements to train pilots and also decided to halt its security cooperation with Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, said that the Turkish government prepared a road map detailing measures to be taken against Israel should it fail to cooperate with the international investigation into the attack against the Freedom Flotilla.
He refused to comment on the nature of these measures, but said that they will be announced at the right time.
The Turkish paper said that a committee was formed by the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Minister in order to prepare for an international investigation into the Israel attack.
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, proposed forming a comprehensive international investigation committee but the Israeli government rejected the idea and claimed it was investigating the attack with the participation of two foreign observers.
Israel also claimed that its investigation is professional and is being carried out on both military and political levels.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), based in Gaza, issued a press release stating that the Israeli investigation committee was appointed and approved by the Israeli government; therefore it cannot be considered an official committee.
Israel also said that it will not investigate or question any soldier, and that the soldiers who participated in the attack against the Freedom Flotilla will not be asked to testify.
The PCHR added that the Israeli committee did not provide guarantees that it would be independent and that its members have little experience, if any, in conducting international criminal investigations.
The committee includes a former justice of the Israeli High Court, a retired lieutenant and a retired diplomat. Israel also appointed two foreign experts who will not have any voting rights and only a limited role in the proceedings as they will be primarily joining hearings and consultation sessions.
Israel can also prevent the international observers from viewing certain documents deemed confidential by Israel as they “could harm Israel’s national security and its international relations”.
The PCHR stated that international law requires commitments to conduct detailed and non-biased investigations, and that such investigations should be real and should not aim at protecting officials who violated the law.
The European Court for Human Rights said that the investigations must be able to identify those who violated international law and must be able to punish them.
Yet, Israel wants to conduct its own investigation that would not name officials, let alone allow for prosecutions of the officials and the soldiers who ordered and conducted the deadly attack against nonviolent peace activists escorting aid to Gaza.