Lieberman: States fighting terror need support

Shalev slams Goldstone R

November 5, 2009 01:30
3 minute read.

While the first day of a UN General Assembly debate on a resolution endorsing the Goldstone Commission Report and calling for it to be referred to the Security Council ended without a vote on Wednesday, Israel urged the world to remember that Israel was not the only state fighting against terror organizations. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman discussed Goldstone report with his European counterparts on Wednesday night, stressing that the battle against terror was not only an Israeli problem. "We must work together to build a fortified wall, democratic states trying to protect themselves [from terror groups] must receive support," Lieberman told European diplomats, according to Army Radio. At the UNGA session in New York, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev slammed the General Assembly, declaring that "the report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin. From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicized body with predetermined conclusions." With debate on the non-binding resolution set to continue Thursday and possibly even Friday, the vote could be delayed to as late as next week, as the European Union continues to try to soften the text. "Most European countries have expressed dissatisfaction with quite a few clauses in the Arabs' text that is being debated now," including its language endorsing the report and referring the matter to the Security Council, an Israeli official explained. While many Arab and Muslim countries backed the report's accusations of Israeli war crimes over its conduct during its war with Hamas in Gaza this winter, the European Union presented a more measured assessment in its own speech from the floor. Swedish Ambassador to the UN Anders Liden, speaking on behalf of 27 countries as the president of the EU, did not mention the issue of the General Assembly endorsing the report or the Security Council playing a role. Turkey, which has frequently positioned itself at odds with Israel in recent weeks, also endorsed the EU position. Liden did, though, urge an independent investigation by both sides, a step Israel has resisted, pointing to ongoing IDF reviews of several incidents during the war. "The EU urges the parties to lead appropriate, credible and independent investigations into possible violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law in accordance with international standards," he said. "In this regard the EU believes that appropriate follow-up will be necessary." Still, Israel welcomed the comments by the EU. "The EU is a moderate force, a moral compass for so many. The EU does not, like so many others at the General Assembly, have an anti-Israel [line]," Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Daniel Carmon told The Jerusalem Post. "We are always pleased to hear the EU" in such circumstances, he said. Shalev, however, was scathing in her floor speech when it came to those who wanted to endorse the Goldstone Report. "Rather than confronting terrorism, the General Assembly chose again to detach itself from reality," she charged. "Today's debate is anything but genuine and candid. Rather than discuss how to better stop terrorist groups who deliberately target civilians, this body launches yet another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of Israel." Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority UN observer, urged the General Assembly to support a resolution and insisted Israel's "aggressions and crimes" cannot be equated "with actions committed in response by the Palestinian side." Stressing that "peace cannot be achieved without justice," Mansour said that the Palestinians "are determined to follow up this report and its recommendations in all relevant international forums, including the Security Council and the International Criminal Court, until the realization of justice." Mansour predicted the resolution will "absolutely" be approved. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice boycotted the debate, Army Radio reported. Her deputy was in the hall only during Shalev's and Liden's addresses. Meanwhile, former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman left Israel for New York Wednesday evening at the behest of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Gillerman will assist with Israel's public relations campaign concerning the Goldstone Commission's report. Gillerman told Israel Radio that he agreed to the prime minister's request after being convinced that every effort must be done to ensure that Israel does not suffer adverse consequences should the report be passed on to the UN Security Council or to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. AP and staff contributed to this report

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