By Ahmed Amr
By now anyone paying attention understands the broad outlines of Israel’s notion of what constitutes an ‘impartial’ inquiry into the murder of nine activists on the Free Gaza Flotilla. Except for Netanyahu and the cabinet ministers who ordered the armed assault on the humanitarian convoy, no other witnesses will be called. The Israelis now say their inquiry will not even take testimony from the IDF commanders who planned and executed the assault or the seven hundred first hand witnesses who survived the carnage. Besides, the activists have already been deported.
So far the Israelis have tampered with incriminating evidence, propagated doctored pictures and confiscated video tapes and cameras from the reporters who were on board. Just to rub salt in the wound, Netanyahu intends to focus the investigation on whether the organizers of the flotilla had ‘terrorist’ connections. A campaign of slander orchestrated by the Israeli government has prejudiced the outcome by tainting the victims with having ties to Al-Qaeda. Those absurd accusations were later withdrawn but not before the damage had been done.
For the Israelis, the inquiry serves no purpose but to whitewash the crime and rehabilitate their image. To no one’s surprise, the Obama administration has volunteered a helping hand in the cover up. We’re not going to go into Washington’s rationale for bowing before AIPAC Lobby (American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) and their overlords in Jerusalem. Suffice it to say that the Senate leaders of both parties are passing around a letter condoning the murderous assault on the high seas. I’m not an oracle, but I don’t expect much resistance to Harry Reid’s bipartisan initiative from an administration where the Vice President publicly avows his Zionism and the Chief of Staff boasts of his service with the IDF.
Let Washington and Israel play any game they want to play but let them play alone. The only viable response is an impartial Turkish inquiry with international representation. As a NATO ally, Ankara can extend a formal invitation to the United States, Britain and France to send observers. All three countries approved the UN resolution that called for an impartial and transparent investigation and there’s no plausible reason that Obama can concoct to rebuff a Turkish offer to participate in the proceedings. Observer status should also be accorded to the European Union, the International Court of Justice and Israel. Maybe the Israeli observer will be good enough to show up with the evidence his government confiscated from the 60 reporters who were on the flotilla.