[News] Leaked Documents Show PA Undermined Turkeys Push for UN Flotilla Probe
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 23 07:08:44 EDT 2010
Exclusive: Leaked Documents Show PA Undermined
Turkeys Push for UN Flotilla Probe
Posted: 22 Jun 2010 10:47 AM PDT
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml>The Electronic Intifada
A document sent to Ibrahim Khraishi, Palestinian
Authority representative at the UN in Geneva,
proves that the PA attempted to undermine
Turkey's push for a UN Human Rights Council
investigation in to Israel's attack on the Gaza
Freedom Flotilla (Patrick Bertschmann/UN Photo)
The Palestinian Authority attempted to neutralize
a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution
condemning Israels deadly attack on the Gaza
Freedom Flotilla, leaked UN and Palestinian
Authority documents obtained by The Electronic
Intifada show. Israels 31 May attack killed nine
Turkish citizens, including a dual US-Turkish
citizen, and injured dozens of others aboard the
Mavi Marmara in international waters.
the document leaked to EI [PDF]
The Electronic Intifada (EI) today publishes one
of the documents it obtained, containing proposed
amendments to a draft Human Rights Council (HRC)
resolution. Annotations to the resolution
indicate the Palestinian Authority (PA) stood
with European Union (EU) countries against
Turkeys calls for robust action to hold Israel accountable.
The PAs apparent collusion to shield Israel will
recall for many its
to undermine UN action on the Goldstone report last October.
Apparently written by a European delegate, the
documents amendments would have seriously
diluted Turkeys original wording. The most
damaging change would have removed the call for
an independent UN investigation under HRC
auspices. The document was provided to EI by a
source who described how it was obtained inside
the UN Office at Geneva, and asked to remain anonymous.
Turkey rejected the EU-PA amendments, and the
final resolution on 2 June declared that the
council Decides to dispatch an independent
international fact-finding mission to investigate
violations of international humanitarian and
human rights law resulting from the Israeli
Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces against the
Humanitarian Boat Convoy, United Nations Human
Rights Council, Fourteenth session, A/HRC/14/L.1, Adopted on 2 June 2010).
The language in the final resolution was very
similar to the January 2009 HRC resolution which
led to the Goldstone report, the independent
investigation that detailed war crimes committed
during Israels 2008-09 invasion of Gaza.
Yet annotations apparently made by a European
diplomat on the draft resolution obtained by EI
make it clear that the PA consented to removal of
this wording. A PA-backed alternative paragraph
instead proposed that the HRC: Requests the UN
Secretary-General to ensure a prompt, impartial,
credible and transparent investigation conforming
to the [sic] international standards.
This difference is key because the Turkish
wording specifically calls for an investigation
under the authority of the HRC. Yet the weaker
EU-PA version would have allowed the UN
secretary-general to merely endorse an
Israeli-led inquiry provided he considered it credible.
One of the documents annotations explains that
TK [Turkey] has checked with their capital and
they are still under high-level instruction to
insist on language as originally proposed. The
note adds that PA and PAK [Pakistan] can agree
to both proposals i.e to replace the
independent HRC investigation with one merely
approved by either the UN Security Council or the secretary-general.
Similarly, while Turkey had according to the
annotations insisted that the resolution
specifically condemn the Israeli attack, the PA
and PAK is [sic] OK with the EU proposal to
replace reference to the outrageous attack by
the Israeli forces against the humanitarian
flotilla with the more ambiguous use of
violence during the Israeli military operation.
The EU alternative could be interpreted as
including condemnation of violence by
passengers attempting to defend themselves with
water hoses or sticks against the unprovoked
Israeli military attack in international waters.
Public statements by both French and UK diplomats
support EIs interpretation of the document.
After Turkey succeeded in getting its wording
into the 2 June resolution, the UK and France
abstained, and the Netherlands, Italy and the US voted against.
Explaining his countrys abstention, French
representative Jean-Baptiste Mattei expressed a
wish for a unanimous stand and said his
government regret that proposals for amendments
to the text made by the EU were not accepted.
Peter Gooderham for the United Kingdom concurred
with this wish to reach consensus and even
mentioned he was grateful for the efforts of the
co-sponsors in this regard
Human Rights Council, Archived Video, Fourteenth session, 2 June 2010).
The Palestinian Authority was one of the resolutions co-sponsors.
Imad Zuhairi, the Deputy Permanent Observer of
the PA to the UN in Geneva, said in a phone
interview that the position of his delegation was
that no matter if its Geneva, the Human Rights
Council, or the Security Council, there should be
a transparent and international independent
investigation committee in accordance with international standards.
Zuhairi claimed his delegation had been not
against or with the EU effort to scupper the HRC
investigation. He criticized the Security Council
resolution wording as ambiguous and said the PA
would reject by all means any internal
investigation by Israel. He added: what we care
for is our [Palestinian] people in the occupied Gaza Strip.
When questioned specifically on the comment in
the document that the PA can agree to removal
of the HRC investigation, Zuhairi said the
comment was inaccurate, and said that whoever had written it was mistaken.
However, the annotations in the draft HRC
resolution leaked to EI are corroborated by a
second leaked document which reveals an earlier
attempt to dilute the HRC resolution, but this time directly by the PA itself.
The second document, and the email to which it
was attached, were leaked by a source unconnected
to the first document. EI was given access to the
second document on condition it not be published.
The second document is in the widely-used
Microsoft Word format and the Track Changes
feature has been used, so the exact changes made
to it are unambiguous. An examination of the Word
documents metadata reveals that it was initially
created by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (Disisleri Bakanligi) before the PA added its changes.
The email to which it was attached was written by
Feda Abdelhady Nasser, a diplomat at the PAs UN
mission in New York, and sent to Dr. Ibrahim
Khraishi, the PA representative at the UN in
Geneva where the HRC is based. It is copied to
Riyad Mansour, the head of the PA mission at the UN in New York.
Abdelhady Nasser explains that the attached
document contains the PA mission in New Yorks
edits to the draft resolution being proposed for adoption by the HRC.
The document itself proves that the PA
representatives replaced the proposed Turkish
wording in which the HRC Decides to dispatch an
independent international fact finding mission
with much vaguer and more indirect language that:
Calls upon the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, in cooperation with the
Secretary-General, to dispatch a fact finding mission
This language would have removed the entire issue
from the auspices of the HRC. Taken together, the
evidence indicates that the PA was directly
involved in trying to dilute and undermine
Turkeys robust position and to protect Israel from accountability.
Recent reports suggest that the investigation
conforming to international standards approved
by the Security Council and the US administration
will be conducted by Israel itself, observed by
Northern Ireland politician David Trimble who
recently co-founded an organization called
Friends of Israel, and Canadian Brigadier-General Ken Watkin.
A separate investigation by the HRC, as
stipulated in the 2 June resolution that passed
with 32 votes in favor (three against, nine
abstentions) would represent a challenge to the
authority of the Israeli investigation. If the
Goldstone report is a precedent, an HRC
investigation is far more likely to be critical of Israeli actions.
In October 2009, the Goldstone report was finally
adopted by the HRC. Despite the PA initially
withdrawing support for the South African
jurists investigation into Israels 2008-09
onslaught against the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Abbas,
who extended his expired term as PA president
under contested emergency laws, was forced into
a humiliating U-turn after an outpouring of
disgust and protest from Palestinians around the world.
Asa Winstanley is a freelance journalist based in
London who has lived in and reported from
occupied Ramallah. His website is
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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