After promising, on multiple occasions, to arrest any participants in the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza, Israeli officials have now made an ‘open call’ to those same participants to testify in an inquiry about the Israeli attack on the aid boats that killed 9 aid volunteers.In publishing the open call for witnesses, the Israeli government gave no indication that they would go back on their ealier pledge to arrest and prosecute all of the aid volunteers.
A government spokesperson made only a vague reference to a letter sent to Turkish authorities in which Israel stated, ‘We are aware that there are issues which arise regarding arranging such testimony, and would be happy to work with the embassy and with the Turkish authorities … to overcome any such obstacles.’
Participants in the aid flotilla are unlikely to agree to testify, given that the Israeli promise to prosecute them still stands.
The Israeli internal inquiry into the May 30th naval and air assault by the Israeli military on the unarmed aid ship has come under fire for refusing to allow outside investigators, and for going against a U.N. resolution that called for an international, not an internal, investigation of the attack.
During that attack, nine international aid workers, eight of them Turkish and one man of dual Turkish/American citizenship, were killed by Israeli troops who boarded the ship in international waters, in violation of international law. Israeli troops seized the humanitarian aid aboard the ships, which included medicine, school supplies, building materials and generators.
The aid flotilla was attempting to break the three-year long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip that has hindered Palestinians entering or exiting Gaza, and has prevented the entry of all but the tiniest trickle of basic foodstuffs to the impoverished population imprisoned in the Gaza Strip.