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British victims of flotilla assault demand to be heard by Israel's Turkel Commission

Sources in Israel have revealed that up to 33 British activists who were on board the Freedom Flotilla when it was assaulted by Israeli commandos have demanded that they be permitted to testify before the Turkel Commission. The Israeli government established the commission to investigate Israel's attack on the fleet at the end of May 2010.

According to the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, the lawyer representing the British activists, Daniel Machover, said that his clients opposed attempts by the Turkel Commission to downplay the significance of their testimonies. They believe that their witness statements contain vital information about their experiences before, during and after the Israeli assault.

Mr. Machover claims that the Israeli Foreign Ministry contacted the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the 25th October to say that it had only allocated four days, including the weekend, to gather information from the British participants and pass it on to the commission. He added that the British activists consider the urgent demand "a deliberate affront" to their rights and not an attempt to hear their testimonies; they demanded that the commission itself should hear the testimony of the British victims. They also said that the Israeli government should bear the costs of their travel, lodgings and judicial expenses so that their testimony can be given in an open hearing.

The lawyer warned that in the event of the Turkel Commission rejecting these conditions, "it will become clear that it is not interested in hearing their testimonies, and in such an instance it would be preferable for the international tribunal to begin its investigations as soon as possible". He also indicated that he would be looking into "submitting a criminal complaint against all those against whom there is proof that they carried out war crimes."

Source: Quds Press Service

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