White House lauds Israel's steps toward Gaza flotilla investigation

The White House said Sunday that it welcomed Israel's steps into investigating the deadly raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, calling for a "prompt" and "impartial" probe of the incident.

Israel is calling its Cabinet into special session Monday to approve the establishment of a special independent committee to investigate the raid. Two international observers would be on the panel: one from Canada and one from Northern Ireland.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office put out a press release close to midnight local time detailing the composition and goals of the commission, including studying the Gaza blockade itself and the identities of those onboard the flotilla.

Here's the statement from the White House in full:

Today, the Government of Israel took an important step forward in proposing an independent public commission to investigate the circumstances of the recent tragic events on board the flotilla headed for Gaza. Through a presidential statement of the United Nations Security Council, the United States joined the international community in condemning those acts which led to nine fatalities and many injuries on board the flotilla, and supporting the completion of a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation.

We believe that Israel, like any other nation, should be allowed to undertake an investigation into events that involve its national security. Israel has a military justice system that meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation, and the structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation. But we will not prejudge the process or its outcome, and will await the conduct and findings of the investigation before drawing further conclusions.

While Israel should be afforded the time to complete its process, we expect Israel’s commission and military investigation will be carried out promptly. We also expect that, upon completion, its findings will be presented publicly and will be presented to the international community.