It is an honour for us to serve as Observers to the Public Commission
appointed to inquire into the maritime incident of 31 May 2010. We
understood and accepted the sensitivities that led to our appointment as
observers to the Commission and not, strictly speaking, members of it.
Nonetheless we are satisfied that we had access to all the material before
the Commission and we were fully involved by the Commission in all its work.
All testimonies, both in open and private session and all formal meetings of
the Commission were, of course, conducted in Hebrew. However they were
simultaneously translated for us into English. In the early days there were
some difficulties with the translation of documents into English; these were
quickly overcome as our work proceeded. We are glad that the Commission made
repeated efforts to hear both sides, extending to making arrangement for
evidence to be given by video conferencing and offering to take evidence in
a neutral location. We regret that these offers were not taken up. But we
would like to express our appreciation of the Israeli Arabs, who were on the
Mavi Marmara and who gave evidence to us. We would also like to thank the
representatives of the Israeli Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations
who testified and provided significant material to the Commission.
The Commission made enormous efforts, to get as much information as
possible. This involved going back to the IDF for additional information,
obtaining further staff to examine all the video material (hundreds of
hours) including the CCTV downloaded from the Mavi Marmara and to collate
the material so that it has been able to examine each use of force by the
IDF. We have also been impressed with the efforts of the small but very
dedicated team of lawyers supporting the work of the Commission. We have no
doubt that the Commission is independent. This part of the report is
evidence of its rigour.
On a personal note we want to thank all the members of the Commission who
each have gone out of their way to welcome and assist us. It is a pleasure
to work with them. Special mention must be made of the chairman, Judge
Turkel, for his consideration of us personally and the clarity with which he
directed the work of the commission.
The Rt. Hon. (William) David Trimble, Lord Trimble
Brigadier-General (Ret.) Kenneth Watkin, Q.C.