By Robert Berger of VOA News in Jerusalem – Israel is resisting international pressure over the flotilla raid this week in which nine people were killed while trying to run the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israel has rejected demands by the United Nations for an international investigation into the deadly raid on the flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel is a mature, democratic country that is capable of conducting its own investigation. But in an interview on Israel Radio, he left the door open to foreign participation.
“The investigation must be Israeli,” he said, adding that international observers could be invited to take part.
Lieberman said he strongly supports an investigation because Israel has nothing to hide. Referring to new video released by the Israeli army, he said the foreign activists were armed with protective gear, gas masks and clubs to confront the commandos who stormed the flotilla. He described them as thugs and mercenaries.
Lieberman was also asked about Israel’s plummeting relations with Turkey, which unofficially sponsored the flotilla and which has accused Israel of “state terrorism.” Eight of the nine activists killed were Turks and the other was an American of Turkish origin. Turkey, which once had warm strategic ties with Israel, has demanded an apology, but Israel’s foreign minister said that will not happen.
Lieberman said Turkey bears all the blame for provoking Israel and sending armed activists to break the blockade on Gaza. He said if anyone needs to apologize, it is the Turks.