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Reconsider role in Gaza ships probe, Mairead urges Trimble

By Emily Moulton

Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire has called on Lord Trimble to seriously consider “whether or not” to be part of an Israeli-led investigation into the raid on an aid flotilla which she believes will not be accepted by the international community.

Mrs Corrigan Maguire was speaking after it emerged Israel had asked Northern Ireland’s former First Minister and fellow peace prize winner to be one of two foreign observers to oversee its inquiry into the events which led to the death of nine Turkish activists on the aid ship last month.

However, Mrs Corrigan Maguire, who was on board another aid ship — the Rachel Corrie, also seized by Israeli troops as it made its way into the region — does not believe the investigation will be transparent.

She said: “The Israeli government launching their inquiry will not be accepted by the international community. I think that it will not be recognised by Turkey or the international community because they will potentially be investigating themselves.

“It’s not transparent enough, that to me is the real problem.

“Also the problem with the inquiry is that within Israel they have this principle that you don’t question anything the soldiers do.”

She added: “It is up to Lord Trimble whether or not to be part of this commission.

“I support the UN’s call for an international independent inquiry.”

Mrs Corrigan Maguire also said Northern Ireland had a role to play in trying to help negotiate a peaceful resolution in the Middle East and welcomed the recent debate in the Assembly.

“When people say what does Gaza — Palestine — have to do with Northern Ireland, and I think a lot,” she said.

Northern Ireland has a tremendous experience of the process of peace-building and conflict resolution therefore we really have a moral responsibility to reach out to other conflict areas.

“We have already walked that path. Peace is possible — if you can have it in Northern Ireland then you can have it in Israel and Palestine.”

Lord Trimble’s appointment was welcomed by Chris Gunness, of the UN Relief Works Agency.

“Of course we welcome the fact that people of the stature of David Trimble will be involved in this,” he said.

“We look forward to exactly what the Security Council — indeed the international community — unanimously asked for, which is a prompt, impartial investigation that meets international standards.”

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