Monday, October 05, 2009

UN delays action on Gaza war report.

I suspected something like this might happen. The Palestinians have withdrawn their support for the Goldstone resolution, accusing Israel of committing war crimes, and the UN will now delay the vote on whether to send the report to the UN security council for further action until March of this year.

Again, unsurprisingly, Obama's hands are behind the pressure being heaped upon the Palestinians.

The Palestinian reversal came after "intense diplomacy" by Washington, which told the Palestinians that going ahead with the vote would harm efforts to restart peace talks with the Israelis, according to diplomats quoted by news agencies.

"The Palestinians recognised that this was not the best time to go forward with this," the official said.

I said at the time that Obama would be wise to use this as one of the many ways in which he can bring pressure on Netanyahu to drag him to the table for peace talks. Other ways include removing American funding and withdrawing the American veto at the UN for matters relating to the Middle East.

It is notable for instance that this resolution has not been removed from the table, merely postponed until March of next year, giving Netanyahu six months to come to his senses before the matter comes before the UN again.

However, Imad Zuhairi, the deputy Palestinian ambassador in Geneva, said the report "remains alive" and would be debated next spring. The delay "is not a victory for Israel", he added.

No doubt Obama felt that pushing forward with this would kill any chance he has of getting the Israelis and the Palestinians back around the table, but he must also be careful that Israel don't see this as yet another indication that the US will avoid them ever being held to account in that chamber.

Obama needs to push hard behind the scenes to spell out to Netanyahu that this could all come back to haunt him.

Netanyahu's speech to the UN on this matter was little short of disgraceful, where he attacked the UN itself for daring to criticise Israeli actions; and where he failed to deal with any of the specific charges made in the report and, instead, responded with a broadside defence which basically stated that the United Nations were on the side of terrorists.
Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
So, maybe Obama wants to use this to pressure Netanyahu to the table. That is all we can hope. For if anyone accepted the travesty of Netanyahu's argument, then the UN would be disgraced, but not for the reasons Netanyahu claims.

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