Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Investigation We Should Welcome

According to Haaretz, the Obama administration is suggesting a way out of the sharpest diplomatic corner Israel is in at the moment:
The Americans have proposed that Netanyahu announce that an independent Israeli commission of inquiry will look into the events of the flotilla clashes and accept the participation of an American observer.
As anyone who has ever heard about commissions of investigation knows, rules number one, two and three are to ensure its composition will give the right result. All the rest is irrelevant. This proposal seems to be that Israel needs to have a commission headed by civilians, not the military, and there will be an American professional sitting in on it.

There's certainly need for someone outside the defense establishment to ask some intelligent questions, so there's no problem with that part. The Americans, even though we do argue rather often with some of them these days, are our friends, so there's no problem with that, either. Since the idea originated with the Americans, they'll give us much needed cover for the findings. What's not to like?

Well, apparently some of our folks don't like it:
Political sources in Israel say that Netanyahu is in no rush, at this stage, to accept the American offer. The possibility was not discussed at length during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Sources in the prime minister's bureau said it was still too early to talk of a committee of inquiry...

Calls in Israel for a commission of inquiry were also described by government sources as "exaggerated responses," and they warned against "self-flagellation."Sources in the political leadership and in the General Staff reject the idea that the operation against the flotilla was a failure and argue it achieved its aim because it stopped the ships from reaching the Gaza Strip.

It's things like this that remind me why I voted Kadima. Not certain they'd be better at much, but this knee-jerk response of "If they criticize us we must stop thinking ourselves" is idiotic.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

my knee-jerk reaction is why do you have to have your inquiry commission supervised by an American? And given the trend at the UN a American is not a good idea - the Dalai Lama can't do it either or you'll lose China - who else is there with wide credit?

Nobody sits in on our Kundus(Afghanistan-debacle)-Inquiry to make sure we don't cheat - we are a sovereign state we are entitled to self-heal

- but maybe the difference is that as a parliamentary inquiry it's presumably kind of public, at least there are regular media reports on its progress

Silke

NormanF said...

Ya'acov - I am in favor of an investigation - to determine why the IDF went to war armed with paintball guns and why the IDF managed not to kill all of the terrorists. There are deficiencies in intelligence and in fighting Islamic terrorism that are in need of correction. That is the kind of investigation the Israeli government should pursue as well to inquire into why Israel can't seem to manage better the all important PR war abroad.

Victor said...

This is what I was saying they should have done for Cast Lead - invited participation by foreign military professionals in an inquiry.

Sometimes it's difficult to separate domestic Israeli politics from foreign policy. It's possible Netanyahu wants to strengthen his base, which is all riled up right now about not looking weak to the Turks.

Barry Meislin said...

I don't think the issue is not of one "looking weak to the Turks."

It is one of scrambling to reassess options and strategy in the wake of Turkey's 180 degree turn.

Admittedly, the IDF should have been thinking about this after Davos in 2009 (and maybe they did---though the likelihood is that there was no desire to deal with that nightmare then, and so it wasn't); but there can be no question that the current situation (if it continues, and there's no reason to expect it won't) means that Israel's strategic depth has plummetted precariously.

Scrambling.

Did I say, "Turkey's 180 degree turn"?

I should have said "Turkey's and America's 180 degree turn".

Barry Meislin said...

Sorry: should have said:

I don't think the issue is one of "looking weak to the Turks."....

This Is Hell said...

Turkey will call the investigation a lie. As will all the so called progressive liberals in the west. It's useful as far as it goes but everyone knows that the 'UN' just wants to rip the cover page off the Goldstone report and reprint it.

AKUS said...

Israel should demand justice through an international investigation of the Marmara affair

Barry Meislin said...

Ah yes, Turkey....

A. Jay Adler said...

AKUS is right. Israel should demand an investigation of the flotilla, its origins, its organizational and individual participants, and the role of any nation in supporting it. Demand to trace the incident back to its inception, not Israel's reaction to events set in motion by others. Highlight the agency of others. Off the PR defense, on the offense.

Gavin said...

I see there's been a push to have Kiwi Geoff Palmer on an enquiry. That is not a good idea for Israel in my opinion. Palmer isn't even world famous in NZ, why his name was put forward bears thinking about. I suspect very strongly that his name was put forward by our last PM Helen Clarke who is not a supporter of Israel. (We booted the cow out at the last election & she subsequently wangled a high up position at the UN) She knows Palmer well and any choice by her is not a good choice for Israel.

If Palmer got on that case I expect there to be a pseudo-legal judgement from him about excessive use of force and another judgement that the blockade was illegal. He's been referred to as an ex PM to give him some kind of neutral stature but his role over the last decade has mostly been writing statutes, legislation etc. He was only PM for a short period after the existing PM suddenly quit, got voted out at the next election. He's a lawyer, he is also on the political left. NZ might be a pretty neutral country on the conflict, but I'm certain that Palmer is not neutral or favourably disposed towards Israel.

Gavin