Israel on Monday rejected UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's call to establish an international panel of inquiry into its raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla last Monday that left nine people dead.
"I told the UN chief that establishing the facts must be conducted responsibly and objectively. I am looking into other possibilities," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of Likud ministers today.
Ban had proposed setting up an independent commission of inquiry headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer, an expert on maritime law, with committee members drawn from United States, Turkey and Israel.
The proposal, which was relayed to Israel over the weekend, is to be discussed by the "forum of seven ministers" headed by Netanyahu later today.
"Over the weekend I spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, as well as with Ban. During my conversation with Ban, I conveyed all the information we have on the conduct of the members of the extreme Turkish group (IHH) that supports terror," Netanyahu said during the meeting.
"I told him we must find out who organised them, who funds them, who equipped them and how they boarded the ship," the premier asserted.
The Israeli leader backs Defence Minister Ehud Barak's position, according to which Israel will not allow any international inquiry commission to interrogate Israeli soldiers and officers.
Prime Minister Netanyahu today defended the bloody Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, saying troops came under attack by a group of people who were separate from the peace activists.
Netanyahu claimed the violence aboard the Turkish Marmara aid ship last Monday was "intentional" and those who attacked Israeli troops had boarded the ship "in a way that allowed them to avoid a security check".
"According to the information we now hold, the group which attacked the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers boarded the ship separately, in a different city, and underwent completely different security checks," the Prime Minister claimed at a cabinet meeting today.
Israel, which is faced with global isolation over the issue, says its commandos only resorted to force after being attacked as they reached the deck, but activists claim the soldiers started firing first.