The United Nations Human Rights Council voted for forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli attack against the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, leading to dozens of casualties among human rights activists. Israel is demanding the shelving of the investigation.The Mavi Marmara was attacked by Israeli commandos along with naval forces while in international waters; after facing some resistance from some of the human rights activists while boarding the ship, the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition at activists trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
Nine activists were killed and dozens were wounded by Israel gunfire after the Israeli forces violently attacked the ships in international waters before commandeering the boats by force.
The Human Rights Council named the officials who will be investigating the Israeli attacks and alleged violations of international law. The investigation committee includes lawyers, experts in international law, and experts in human rights law. The committee will be presenting its findings in September.
The draft was initially submitted to the Human Rights Council by Pakistan representing Arab countries and Turkey.
The European Campaign Against the Siege stated that the International Committee will contact Israel, Greece, Turkey, the Freedom Flotilla coalition, and will also be visiting Gaza.
The group added that the investigation committee will ask Israel to cooperate with the investigation, and should it refuse to do so, the committee would continue its investigation and will mention in its report that Israel refused to cooperate.
Meanwhile, Israel asked the United Nations to shelve the investigation and to suspend any attempts to send an international investigation committee to investigate the deadly attack against the Freedom Flotilla.
Israel Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said that attempts to break the siege on Gaza did not stop, and added that Israel offered to conduct an investigation into the attack.
Several European governments rejected Israel’s proposal, and expressed skepticism regarding the fairness of this committee that would include two international experts who will only be observers without direct involvement in the investigation.
Furthermore, Barak reiterated Israel’s threats to attack the Lebanese solidarity ships heading to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies. One of the ships, Mariam, is filled with women and supplies.
The ship was named Miriam (Mariam) which is the Arabic name of Virgin Mary, while the second ship carries the name of the Palestinian cartoonist and artist Naji al-Ali, who was assassinated in London in August 1987.