In recent days, it has become quite clear that the United Nations-sponsored “investigation” into the deadly May 31 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla is going to be a whitewash. The make-up of the panel, specifically the inclusion of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez as the vice-chair, whose tenure in Colombia was marked by human rights abuses, is enough to cast grave doubts over the credibility of the panel. When you couple that fact with Israel’s insistence that no Israeli soldiers will be questioned by the UN and the fact that the panel won’t have subpoena powers and its main work will only be reviewing Turkey and Israel’s domestic investigations into the raid, any credibility the panel had goes down the drain.
But Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, doesn’t seem interested in the credibility of the panel or the need for justice for the 9 dead activists Israel killed aboard the Mavi Marmara; rather, he may see it as a way to save his reputation.
Moon has come under intense criticism from the outgoing head of the UN’s anti-corruption investigations division for “undermining…efforts to combat corruption and leading the global institution into an era of decline,” according to a confidential memo obtained by the Foreign Policy blog Turtle Bay.
Moon hailed the panel on the flotilla as an “unprecedented development.”
One diplomat from a “heavyweight country,” according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, said that “‘the committee to examine the flotilla incident will serve the secretary general as leverage for rehabilitating his status.'”
Meanwhile, Israel and the United States are now saying that, because of the investigation that is going to be carried out under the helm of Uribe and a former prime minister of New Zealand, there is no need for the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HRC) to carry out its investigation. The HRC was the body that commissioned the Goldstone Report, which was scathing in its critique of what it called Israeli “war crimes” carried out during “Operation Cast Lead.”