'Australia changed pro-Israel vote after passport scandal'

WikiLeaks cable shows Canberra changed pro-Israel vote at UN in anger at forged passports used to kill Mabhouh in Dubai.

Brodsky 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Brodsky 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel’s suspicions that Australia reversed its pro-Israel vote on the Goldstone Commission report in 2010 because of Canberra’s anger over the use of forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai received confirmation via a US cable out of the Canberra embassy published by WikiLeaks on Monday.
The confidential cable sent by Washington’s envoy to Australia Jeffrey Bleich on February 25, 2010, said that despite the passport incident, Australia would probably vote with the US and Israel, and against demanding UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issue a report on the Goldstone document that accused Israel of war crimes during operation Cast Lead.
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“Australia is likely to support the US position and vote against the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Goldstone report,” the confidential cable said.
“The recent revelations that suspected Mossad agents used fake Australian passports to enter Dubai and kill a Hamas commander have made this decision more complicated.”
The cable quotes a senior Australian foreign ministry official, Joel McGregor, as saying the Australians were “furious all the way up the chain of command over the incident, and Prime Minister [Kevin] Rudd has vowed to get to the bottom of it.”
However, despite the anger and harsh rhetoric, the cable said Australia was unlikely to change its “no” vote, adding, however, that “given the current atmosphere nothing is certain.”
“He [McGregor] believes the Palestinian resolution is a blatant attempt to keep the Report alive, and said it would be overly confrontational for Australia to reverse its previous position.”
Soon after the reports of the assassination in February 2010 of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of an Arab League proposal calling on Ban to report back to the General Assembly in five months on progress that Israel and the Palestinians have made in independent investigations of the Goldstone Report.
The vote passed 98-7 with 31 abstentions. This was the second vote in the UN General Assembly on the matter, with the outcome worse – from Israel’s perspective – than the original vote that endorsed the report. That vote passed by a margin of 114-18, with 44 abstentions.
This second time Australia joined another 11 countries that changed their votes, opting to abstain rather than support Israel.
In another WikiLeaks cable, this one released last week from the US consulate in Jerusalem, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was quoted as calling Qatar a “very lousy country.”
The cable, from August 17, 2007, is a transaction of a meeting between Fayyad and then undersecretary of treasury Stuart Levey. Fayyad, according to the cable, said “he was extremely worried about Qatar and its continued support for Hamas and other Islamist organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.”
“Qatar is a very lousy country, in every possible way,” the cable quoted Fayyad as saying, “claiming that they provide ‘more support to fundamentalists than Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.’” Fayyad said that Qatar was using charitable organizations to move funds to Gaza.
“Qatar is willfully bad on money,” he was quoted as saying, encouraging the US “to make life difficult for Qatari banks in the US.”