8 Jun 2010

We'll do our own inquiry into raid, says Israel

9:25 pm on 8 June 2010

Israel says it will carry out its own investigation into last week's deadly raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza.

The move follows Israel's rejection of a United Nations proposal for an international commission of inquiry into the raid, in which nine people died.

Speaking in the Israeli Parliament, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will examine ways of minimising friction in the enforcement of its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

He did not give details about the format of the investigation, but said it will be in addition to a separate military one.

Mr Barak says the inquiry will seek to establish whether Israel's four-year blockade of Gaza and its raid have met the standards of international law.

Sir Geoffrey mooted to head inquiry

Britain and France are calling for an international investigation into the raid, as is Turkey, whose prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says the international community needs to do something substantive about Israel's actions.

Eight of those killed in the raid were Turkish citizens and the other had dual United States-Turkish nationality.

Describing Gaza as an open-air prison, Mr Erdogan says restoration of Turkey's ties with Israel is out of the question unless the Israeli government agrees to an international inquiry.

If such an inquiry is established, former New Zealand prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer could head it. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reported to have suggested Sir Geoffrey - because he is an expert in maritime law.

However, current Prime Minister John Key says no decision has been made.