WASHINGTON – The United Nations General Assembly will convene a special emergency session Friday to decide on a response to the call by Arab nations to censure Israel for the IDF strike on Beit Hanoun last week which killed 19 Palestinian civilians.
Aside from the censure, the proposed bill calls for the establishment of an international mission to probe the circumstances of the incident, under the personal supervision of UN chief Kofi Annan, as well as a call for the UN to defend the Palestinian population.
United States media reported that former US President Jimmy Carter may head the probe committee.
The initiative was proposed to the UN by the Arabs nations, which decided not to let the US veto on a similar decision in the Security Council a few days ago pass silently.
Representatives of the Arab nations decided to bring discussion of the matter to a more suitable forum – the General Assembly, where the non-aligned nations have a majority of 113 out of 192 member countries.
Over 100 nations have already expressed their support for the bill, although the chief struggle is for the support of European Nations which are considered the “moral voice” of the UN. Various Latin American and Asian nations are expected to decide on the direction of their vote only after the EU countries present their stance.
To gain European support, Palestinian representatives in the UN acted to put together an agreed-upon draft of the proposal. On the other side, Israeli diplomats are working to convince European representatives that Israel regretted the incident, made the appropriate conclusions and applied them operationally – and therefore the UN decision is “a performance meant to censure Israel.”
The US State Department also instructed its envoys across the world to lobby against the decision.
As far as is known, Israel does not plan to cooperate with a UN mission investigating the Beit Hanoun incident. Israel may not allow agents access to the canon battery it launched at the Gaza town or permit the examination of the canon that fired the fatal shell.
Israel behaved similarly when the UN appointed a mission to probe an incident in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield.