Security Council welcomes UN panel of inquiry into deadly Gaza flotilla incident
3 August - The Security Council today welcomed the establishment of a United Nations panel of inquiry into the incident earlier this year when Israel raided a six-ship humanitarian convoy that was heading for the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of nine civilians.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of the panel yesterday after two months of intensive consultations. It is tasked with making findings about the facts, circumstances and context of the 31 May incident and recommending how to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The former New Zealand prime minister, Geoffrey Palmer, will serve as chair and the outgoing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, will be vice-chair. The panel will have two additional members, one each from Israel and Turkey, and will begin work next week. It is expected to submit its first progress report by mid-September.
It will then be up to Mr. Ban, once he receives the panel's report, to decide what further steps to take.
Council members said in a press statement read out by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, that they welcomed the cooperation of Turkey and Israel and looked forward to the panel successfully implementing its mandate.
The aid flotilla, which included three Turkish-registered vessels, was trying to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza, which has been subject to a three-year blockade by Israel for what it called security reasons after Hamas took power in the territory in 2007. It was intercepted by Israel while in international waters.