UN chief calls for prompt, positive response to proposed probe into Israeli raid on flotilla
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for fundamental change in the Israeli policy on closures in Gaza and called for "prompt and positive response" to his proposal for an international probe into the May 31 Israeli attacks on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which left nine people killed, a UN spokesman said Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
Martin Nesirky, Ban's spokesman, told reporters that in his meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the secretary- general "re-emphasized the need for fundamental change in the Israeli policy on closures in Gaza."
"The secretary-general called for prompt and positive response to his proposal for an international panel looking into the May 31 incident," Nesirky said.
Asked about remarks from the Israeli defense minister about wanting the secretary-general's inquiry proposal to be put "on the shelf," the spokesman said that the Israelis have neither accepted nor rejected the secretary-general's proposal.
"The proposal remains on the table and we are hopeful for a positive response from Israel," he said.
Shortly after the Israeli raid on the flotilla, the secretary- general called for a multinational investigation of Israel's raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine dead but the proposal was swiftly rejected by the Israelis.
"We expressed that our view that for the time being as long as those new flotillas are in the preparation, it is probably better to leave it on the shelf for a certain time," Barak said. "We are moving ahead with our independent investigation, which we believe is clearly independent ... credible."
Israel bowed to the international pressure on Sunday by formally announcing an eased blockade of Gaza that could allow the massive influx of humanitarian goods into the coastal and occupied Palestinian territory, which was isolated by Israelis for three years.
The Israeli government made the announcement about three weeks after a deadly Israeli naval commando attacks on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which outraged most parts of the world at large and touched off strong condemnations.