[News] Leaked Documents Show PA Undermined Turkey’s Push for UN Flotilla Probe

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 23 07:08:44 EDT 2010


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml

Exclusive: Leaked Documents Show PA Undermined 
Turkey’s Push for UN Flotilla Probe

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 10:47 AM PDT

Asa Winstanley, 
<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 Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza 
Freedom Flotilla, leaked UN and Palestinian 
Authority documents obtained by The Electronic 
Intifada show. Israel’s 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.

<http://www.electronicintifada.net/downloads/pdf/100622-EI-UNHRC-Flotilla.pdf>Download 
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 
Turkey’s calls for robust action to hold Israel accountable.

The PA’s apparent collusion to shield Israel will 
recall for many its 
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10807.shtml>efforts 
to undermine UN action on the Goldstone report last October.

Apparently written by a European delegate, the 
document’s amendments would have seriously 
diluted Turkey’s 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 
attacks” 
(“<http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/491E186A3FCD980985257736004D6493>The 
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 Israel’s 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 document’s 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 EI’s 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 country’s 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” 
(“<http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100602>UN 
Human Rights Council, Archived Video“, Fourteenth session, 2 June 2010).

The Palestinian Authority was one of the resolution’s 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 it’s 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 
document’s 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 PA’s 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 York’s 
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 
Turkey’s 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 
jurist’s investigation into Israel’s 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 
<http://www.winstanleys.org/>www.winstanleys.org.

Source: 
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml>Electronic Intifada




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