Nearly two weeks after Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of humanitarian ships intent on breaking the blockade of Gaza, the United States continues to send mixed messages in response.
Pres. Obama decided this week to send $400 million in aid to Palestine and said the blockade is unsustainable, but his administration refuses to back calls for an international investigation into the raid and a lifting of the blockade. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the United States and Israel have agreed "on the nature of the Israeli investigative committee that will look into the events surrounding the takeover of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla nearly two weeks ago."
A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Haaretz: "We support an Israeli led investigation." The spokesperson added that the U.S. is "open to the potential ways in which the international community can participate in it," but made clear that the U.S. will not back an investigation led by the United Nations.
The committee is expected to be headed by a former Israeli Supreme Court justice and falls significantly short of demands from around the world for a UN investigation into the attacks, which occurred in international waters.
The announcement that there will be no international investigation follows the release yesterday of horrifying footage shot by passengers abroad the largest of the flotilla ships, the Mari Marmara. The video, which was somehow slipped through Israeli security, shows members of the flotilla carrying what are apparently dead passengers. It also documents the blood stained walls of the ship.
Also yesterday, new documents were released in which the Israeli governmental acknowledged that the Gaza blockade is not primarily about security but rather is intended as a form of collective punishment. The documents call the blockade a policy of "economic warfare."
Photo: UN Photo/Marco Castro