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What next after Israel's killings on flotilla for Gaza?

An independent probe and a vigorous push in the peace process are needed in the wake of the Israeli storming of a flotilla bound for Gaza, and the resulting deaths.

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A rush to judgment must be avoided over the deadly confrontation between Israel and the flotilla of Gaza-bound ships. Instead, what is needed is a credible, independent probe of the incident.

Even more so, this tragedy should be seen in a broad light as adding urgency for a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. For the Obama administration, that means putting forward the outlines of a two-state solution – a risky leap politically, but the time for cautious baby steps is over.

Without a settlement, these incidents may only continue, pushing Israel further into a wilderness of international isolation. As French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, “All light must be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy, which underlines the urgency of resuming peace talks.”

The various versions of what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara differ starkly. Aid workers say the Turkish ship was on a purely humanitarian mission to deliver building materials, food, medical supplies, and clothing to the Gaza Strip, which has been under a blockade since 2007 when the militant Hamas took over the government there. They say Israeli naval commandos fired first.

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