UNHRC appoints international team to probe flotilla attack

UNHRC appoints international team to probe flotilla attack

GENEVA, — The UN said in a statement on Friday that the fact-finding team would group three independent figures from Britain, Malaysia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The 47-member council last month voted for conducting an investigation into “serious violations” of the international law during the Israeli attack that ended with the killing of nine Turkish activists and the injury of tens others.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, welcomed the council’s decision, describing it as a “good step”.

He told the PIC on Friday that the important thing is that Israel should abide by results of the investigation and consequently should not escape punishment.

The spokesman recalled the Goldstone report, which he said was a good step but the world community allowed Israel to evade legal prosecution over its war crimes in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Israeli radio said that Tel Aviv decided to return the three Turkish ships, which were among the Freedom Flotilla heading to Gaza with relief aid, after detaining them for almost two months.

The broadcast said on Friday that the decision was taken in the seven-member cabinet meeting and was relayed to the Turkish authorities in Ankara through the Israeli ambassador.

The Israeli authorities had initially refused to return the vessels because their owners refused to sign pledges not to send more relief conveys to Gaza.

Turkey had demanded an international investigation into the incident along with an Israeli apology and compensations, which were all turned down by Israel.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, meanwhile, sent a message to the current chairman of the UN Security Council, Nigeria, warning that it would not allow two Lebanese boats carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza from reaching the besieged coastal enclave.

Shalev said that Israel retains its rights “according to the international law” to use all means necessary to block those two boats from violating the blockade imposed on Gaza.

She claimed that the boats could be carrying weapons or individuals with provocative intentions.