Trimble to take part in flotilla raid inquiry

The Israeli announcement that former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble will take part in an internal investigation into its murderous assault on a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships has been greeted with disbelief in Ireland.

Israel has appointed a panel to investigate the circumstances in which nine aid workers were killed in international waters on May 31st as they were sailing towards the besieged Gaza strip.

Sinn Fein Assembly Chief Whip Caral Ni Chuilin said Trimble’s impartiality must be questioned given the fact that he was one of the leading figures in the “Friends of Israel Initiative” which was recently launched in Paris.

She referred to the “sneaking regard” expressed earlier this month by the current deputy leader of the UUP, Danny Kennedy, for how the Israeli Government “puts its security considerations above all others”

She also pointed out that in January 2004, at an ‘International congress on Victims of Terrorism’, held in Spain, Trimble said: “One of the great curses of this world is the human rights industry. They justify terrorist acts and end up being complicit in the murder of innocent victims”.

“So many will question just how serious or impartial an investigation Israel has initiated when at this early stage they send a very clear message to the world that only those supportive of Israel will be in a position to investigate what was a criminal act of international piracy.”

The 26-County Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin had joined European Union calls for an international probe into the bloody raid, appeals which were rejected by Israel at the weekend.

Labour Party spokesman on human rights Joe Costello said Israel’s decision to hold an internal inquiry was “a whitewash and totally unacceptable”.

“The ships were boarded in international waters by the Israeli army, nine people were shot by the Israeli soldiers, the ships were compelled to go to an Israeli port, remain in Israel custody and their crews and aid activists deported.

“These are the uncontested facts of Israeli involvement in an extremely serious incident. An internal Israeli inquiry into such an international incident with such profound Israeli involvement is quite simply ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, campaigners have called for a boycott of Israeli goods until the blockade ends.

Activists from the Irish Anti-War Movement have vowed to continue holding demonstrations after taking their campaign to some of the capital’s busiest supermarkets this weekend.

Members of the group continued a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Dublin today, where they called for an end to the blockade of Gaza, and for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, Dr Zion Evrony.

Two hundred protestors also gathered at the Stormont Assembly in Belfast on Friday to protest the recent killings.

The Israeli Ambassador, Zion Evrony’s was visiting Stormont to celebrate Israel’s 62nd Anniversary, hosted by Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP and Patsy McGlone of the SDLP.

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