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A Credible Investigation
Editorial -
New York Times
June 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/opinion/04fri3.html?ref=opinion


Israelís government has decided to tough out the criticism of its attack this week on a six-ship flotilla trying to run the Gaza blockade. The story, and the anger, arenít going away.

The news wires on Thursday were filled with pictures of grieving mourners as Turkey held funerals for 8 of the 9 activists killed on the lead ship. Some of the more than 600 activists from 42 countries, released from Israeli detention, are accusing Israel of a litany of abuses. Israelís charges that its commandos were attacked and shot at by some of the shipís passengers are being ignored by everyone except its most passionate defenders.

We still donít know what happened on that ship. But we are sure that before things get even more out of control, the world ó and Israel ó needs an impartial international investigation. Instead of pressing for that, the Obama administration is encouraging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuís misguided belief that Israel can lead its own probe with international participation. That is not going to suffice.

Some Israeli officials are pointing to South Korea, which recently conducted an investigation, with the participation of five other countries, into the sinking of a South Korean warship. There is a big difference: Seoul was examining North Koreaís behavior not its own.

As Israel resists an independent inquiry, there are other parties eager to do their own investigations. The United Nations Human Rights Commission, whose 2009 probe of the Gaza war accused Israel and the Palestinian-faction Hamas of war crimes, has already announced its own probe of the flotilla debacle.

Israel needs to work with the United States to come up with a fair and independent investigatory body ó and then cooperate fully. (It refused to cooperate with the Gaza war investigation that guaranteed that its side of the story wasnít heard.) Our suggestion: Do it under the auspices of the so-called quartet ó the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations ó that is already working on Middle East peace.

Until this incident is credibly investigated,there is little hope of moving forward with Israeli-Palestinian peace talks or efforts to curb Iranís nuclear program.

ca

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