U.S.: UN council rushing to blame Israel for Gaza flotilla deaths
UN Human Rights Council to probe Gaza flotilla raid, passes resolution condemning Israel as violating international law urges end to Gaza blockade.
The UN Human Rights Council's resolution to condemn Israel and investigate its deadly raid of a pro-Palestinian ship puts "complete responsibility" on Israel for the clashes that left nine people dead, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
Explaining why the U.S. joined Norway and Italy in voting against the resolution, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said: "Before there's even the opportunity for an investigation, in our view, this resolution put the complete responsibility on Israel."
"We thought that was in inappropriateness - as we indicated we thought this was a rush to judgment," said Crowley, adding: "We continue to believe that Israel is in the best position to lead that investigation."
"As [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] indicated… we want to ensure that there is a credible investigation, and we will continue to talk to Israel and other countries about possible international participation," he added.
The Human Rights Council in Geneva decided earlier Wednesday to dispatch an international committee to Israel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Israel Navy raid.
The resolution was passed by a majority vote of 32-3 with nine absentions.
The draft resolution, sponsored by Arab states, harshly condemns Israel and says Israel violated international law when it took over the ships in the middle of the ocean. The resolution also calls on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and to supply immediate humanitarian aid to Gaza, in the forms of food, gas, and medications.
The last clause of the draft resolution calls for an independent fact-finding mission to investigate international law violations, as a result of an Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla.
Addressing the 47 member council, U.S. ambassador in Geneva Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said her country was concerned by the "deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Gaza," and regrets the loss of life in the operation.
"It is our hope, that over time, the council will be balanced," she said in explaining the "no" vote.
EU countries said they had tried to insert language would would have allowed them to vote yes, but the negotiations did not bear fruit.
The Netherlands said the rights council should not go beyond the decision of the UN Security Council from earlier in the week, which condemned the "acts" that lead to the deaths in the raid and called for a "credible and transparent" investigation, without imposing the nature of the inquiry.
The Human Rights Council passed a similar resolution condemning Israel after Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009, which led to the creation of the Goldstone Commission and its scathing report accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes.