Malaysia seeks emergency UN session on Gaza flotilla deaths
Diplomatic sources say effort stems from a desire to embarrass Israel in response to what Arab states consider a lax UN response to the raid.
Arab and Muslim members of the United Nations, led by Malaysia, are working toward assembling an emergency UN session to discuss Israel's last month raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla, Haaretz learned late Tuesday.
The resolutions reached at an emergency UN session do not bear immediate practical consequences, and are considered recommendations. However, the representatives of dozens of member states could be allowed to speak at such a session, a fact that could turn the debate into a massive diplomatic assault against Israel, which, in turn, could add to international pressure on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza.
Diplomatic sources said that recent efforts were triggered by the Arab and Muslim nations' dissatisfaction with the results of a UN Security Council session concerning the May 31 raid, which took place just days after the maritime operation, and which culminated with a presidential denouncement of Israel and a demand for a thorough inquiry.
The sources also told Haaretz that the push for a special UN session was led by Malaysia, who sources said had been inspired by similar efforts by Syria and Iran to place the aftermath of the flotilla raid high on the international agenda.
Malaysia's parliament, which is already known for its extreme anti-Israel stance, had already adopted a resolution calling for steps to be taken against Israel in response to the flotilla incident.
The official website of the country's Foreign Ministry even quoted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as saying that the flotilla raid "opened the eyes of the people of Malaysia and the rest of the world to the atrocities of the Zionist regime towards the people of Palestine which hitherto we have read about and seen on television," as well as other anti-Israel remarks.
Sources said that Malaysia was interested in being considered a leading country in the push as a means to advocate its candidacy to the UNSC next year.