Israeli PM blamed for buck-passing on Gaza flotilla episode

08:31, August 10, 2010      

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Israel's opposition Kadima party on Monday slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for implying that the Israeli army was responsible for a botched military operation to stop a Gaza-bound flotilla late May, which left nine passengers dead.

"Netanyahu's testimony to the Turkel commission proves, once again, that there is no leadership," read a statement released by Kadima after the hearing on Monday, "at the moment of truth, he put the blame on others and made the army into a punching-bag."

During his testimony before the Turkel committee, an investigation panel into Israeli navy's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, Netanyahu largely laid responsibility for the planning and follow-through of the raid on the military echelon, headed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The politicians' role is "to determine policy and it is up for the military to execute it," he said.

Netanyahu also told the panel that he put Barak in charge when he left Israel for a meeting with U.S. President Barak Obama late May.

The committee started its first round of inquiring of Israeli high officials on Monday morning. The hearing will last several days this week with Barak and Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi also to testify in the following days.



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