Israel slams UN council's Gaza flotilla probe | world | Hindustan Times
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Israel slams UN council's Gaza flotilla probe

world Updated: Jul 25, 2010 17:05 IST

Israel on Sunday dismissed moves by the UN Human Rights Council to open its own probe into a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, saying the panel was biased.

"This panel of experts is not intending to look for the truth but to satisfy the non-democratic countries which control the Human Rights Council, who have an automatic anti-Israeli majority," a senior Israeli official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His remarks came two days after the UN body named a panel of experts to investigate whether the commando operation, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead, breached international law.

Although Israel has yet to respond officially to the council's request for cooperation, the government was widely expected to refuse to have anything to do with it. An official statement is expected out later this week.

Speaking to Israel HaYom newspaper, a senior official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said there was no chance Israel would cooperate with such a "biased" investigation.

"It is clear that this is a biased committee with a biased mandate, which was established by a council that deals with Israel in a tendentious and truly obsessive way," he told the paper, which is considered close to Netanyahu.

However, the mass-selling Yediot Aharonot daily reported that Israel was likely to agree to cooperate with the work of another UN committee examining the raid, an international panel proposed by UN chief Ban Ki-moon which will include both Turkish and Israeli participation.

Although the committee has not yet been set up, Israel has been in consultations with Ban over its composition, the paper said.

In return for its cooperation, Israel has asked that the committee begin its work only after the Jewish state has completed its own internal probe, and that the panel's findings take precedence over all other international probes into the raid, the paper said.

Israel has consistently rejected calls for an international independent investigation into the raid and instead launched two internal inquiries.

Troops involved in the raid say they resorted to lethal force only after being attacked when they rappelled from helicopters onto the deck of the Turkish passenger ferry Mavi Marmara in international waters.

But the activists who were on the ship say the naval commandos opened fire as soon as they boarded.

The 47-member Human Rights Council condemned the raid as an "outrageous attack" during an emergency session just days after the operation and decided to set up a commission of inquiry.

The panel is due to present its findings in mid-September.