Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Israel has agreed to participate in the official UN investigation into the May 31 events regarding the flotilla. This will be in addition to the Independent Public Commission set up in Israel with foreign participation.

Explaining its position regarding Israel’s collaboration with this UN committee, Prime Minister Netanyahu said “Israel has nothing to hide.  The opposite is true.  It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing.”

Despite launching its own internal investigation led by nongovernmental officials and foreign observers, calls were made amongst the international community for a United Nations-led inquiry.

The four-member panel will include a Turkish representative along with an Israeli representative. The panel will be chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer as well as Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as vice chairman. They are slated to finish their first progress report by mid-September.

Ban Ki-moon thanked the government of Israel “for their spirit of compromise and forward-looking cooperation” which resulted in what he called “an unprecedented development.”

“I hope that today’s agreement will impact positively on the relationship between Turkey and Israel as well as the overall situation in the Middle East,” he added.