UK HARDENS SUPPORT FOR “GALLSTONE” REPORT
Britain hardens line in support of Goldstone Report, not one EU member state votes against it at latest UN resolution
In yet another shameful day at the United Nations, Britain has signalled a hardening of its position in support of the Goldstone Report on Gaza. In the General Assemblyâ€™s latest vote on Friday, Britain moved from the abstainers camp to join ranks with the likes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan in supporting a resolution to breathe new life into Goldstone for another five months. Not one EU member state joined the United States, Israel, Canada and four others in opposing the move.
The resolution was a follow up to last Novemberâ€™s vote in the General Assembly calling for Israel and the Palestinians to mount credible investigations into allegations contained in the Goldstone Report that both sides, but particularly Israel, had committed war crimes against civilians. Britain abstained in that vote having absented itself entirely at the original vote in the Human Rights Council the previous month. Britain has therefore moved in three stages: absence, abstention, and now support.
Technically all three votes were slightly different in that the first asked participants to endorse the reportâ€™s findings, the second called for investigations on the basis of the report and the third provided for an extension of the time period in which those investigations should take place. However, as the United States â€” which voted against Goldstone on all three occasions â€” made clear after yesterdayâ€™s vote the key principle at issue is whether such a deeply flawed report should be given any legitimacy at all. That, said US Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Alejandro D. Wolff, was why the US continued to have no truck with it.
The Goldstone report is not only blatantly biased against Israel â€” it takes the testimony of Hamas supporting Palestinians at face value â€” it amounts to a full frontal attempt to criminalise self-defence operations mounted by democracies confronting terror groups.
The fact that the British foreign office remains wilfully blind to this reality is not only shameful, it also threatens to undermine Britainâ€™s own national interests in places such as Afghanistan. If Israel is to be pilloried and criminalised over its attempts to deal with terror groups which use the civilian population as human shields, how will these new precedents in international law be subsequently used against British attempts to deal with groups such as the Taliban which use the same abominable tactics?
But if Britain is now prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder in the same voting group as Iran on this issue it may be that blind prejudice against Israel is now so deeply entrenched that arguments resting on logic and reason are completely ineffectual.
For the record, here are the official results of the vote reproduced in full from the United Nations website:
Vote on Follow-up to Report on Gaza Conflict
The draft resolution on the Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (document A/64/L.48) was adopted by a recorded vote of 98 in favour to 7 against, with 31 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Peopleâ€™s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Against: Canada, Israel, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Panama, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United States.
Abstain: Albania, Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, CÃ´te dâ€™Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Ukraine.
Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao Peopleâ€™s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Namibia, Palau, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.
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