Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a special meeting with his cabinet to discuss the growing international demands for an international probe to investigate last week’s Gaza aid ship attack.
An Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara left at least nine aid workers killed and several others wounded. The US, as well as the entire UN Security Council, have demanded an international probe into the incident, though earlier today Israel insisted it would not allow this to happen.
Turkey, whose ship was attacked, has insisted on the international probe, and Netanyahu is said to be fielding phone calls from a number of world leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and trying to convince them that the probe cannot be permitted for “national security” reasons, and that an internal probe is good enough.
The UN commission was to be headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, and was to include Israeli, US, and Turkish officials. It is unclear if the probe will be able to continue without an Israeli imprimatur, but certainly in the past the UN has held investigations into Israeli actions over their express objections.
The US position will likely be the wildcard in all of this. While the administration’s support for the probe was at the time a way to avoid criticizing Israel for the killings, after a week of Israeli spin and with a resolution praising the attack about to be proposed in Congress, the Obama Administration may once again backtrack from its position, though it would do so at the risk of serious damage to its Turkish allies.