WASHINGTON – The United States on has decided not to speak at the United Nations General Assembly discussion on the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
While dozens of countries sent their delegates to speak at the GA, the Americans openly shunned it. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice did not even attend the discussion. Her deputy, Alejandro Wolff, entered the auditorium to listen to the addresses of the European Union representative and Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, and was later seen leaving the place.
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has been expressing its objection to the Human Rights Council's decision to have the General Assembly in New York discuss the report. The Americans expressed their anger at the Arab states' move, along with the non-aligned countries, to separate the discussion on the Goldstone Report from the annual meeting on the situation of human rights.
On Tuesday night, the US House of Representatives rejected the Goldstone Report's conclusions with an overwhelming majority, calling the report "biased".
The Egyptian ambassador was the first to speak against Israel at the GA, and was expected to be followed by some 40 delegates before the resolution would be voted on. In light of the automatic majority enjoyed by the Arab countries and the supporters, the resolution is expected to pass.
The Egyptian ambassador said during his speech that "Israel retaliated against civilians in Gaza." The Swedish ambassador said on behalf of the EU that the Goldstone report is serious and that any violation of human rights must be probed and that those responsible must be prosecuted.
The speeches clearly show that the move's leaders are trying to create a momentum which will eventually turn the report over to the Security Council, the only UN body with operational authorities. From there, they hope to drag Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but the Americans are expected to veto such a move.