Gaza flotilla inquiry panel members


The Israeli government has set up a three-man panel of inquiry to look into the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla by Israeli commandos. Its work will be overseen by two international observers.

Yaakov Tirkel, panel leader

The US asked that a retired Supreme Court judge head the Israeli inquiry into the Gaza flotilla raid, and got its wish with the appointment of Mr Tirkel. During his time at the Supreme Court, Mr Tirkel dealt with many high-profile cases, including allowing the Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra to go ahead with a performance of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll in 2000. Holocaust survivors had tried to block it, pointing to the composer's anti-Semitism and popularity among German Nazi leaders. Since his retirement as a judge, Mr Tirkel has been involved in vetting candidates for senior public sector appointments. His appointment as panel chairman has been criticised by the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which quoted him as telling Army Radio that he did not believe that such an inquiry was a good idea, and that he opposed bringing in foreign observers.

Amos Horev, panel member

A retired major general, Mr Horev will provide a military perspective to the panel's deliberations about the commando raid on the flotilla. He is also a former president of the Technion, Israel's institute of technology, based in the northern city of Haifa.

Shabtai Rosenne, panel member

The 93-year-old is a professor of international law whose background will assist consideration of the legality of Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. He is an Israel Prize laureate in legal sciences and a Hague Prize laureate in international law.

David Trimble, international observer

Now a Conservative member of Britain's House of Lords, Mr Trimble led the Ulster Unionist Party during negotiations that led to the peace agreement in Northern Ireland, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the talks. He recently joined the "Friends of Israel" initiative, which was launched in Paris with the support of Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, a close associate of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ken Watkin, international observer

Mr Watkin was a brigadier general in the Canadian military and served as judge advocate general of his country's armed forces until earlier this year. In this role, he provided legal advice to the governor-general, minister of defence and Canadian forces on matters of military law, as well as overseeing Canada's military justice system.