UN vote: Australia backs Israeli war crimes

November 13, 2009

Australia was one of 18 countries to vote against the United Nations Goldstone report into Israel's December-January war on Gaza at the UN General Assembly in New York on November 5.

The report recommended that Israeli and Palestinian authorities launch independent inquiries into war crimes committed during Israel's attack on Gaza. More than 1400 Palestinians, and 13 Israelis (including 10 soldiers), were killed in the conflict.

The report revealed that a large majority of casualties were civilians and many were children.

The report accused Israel of targeting the Gazan population as a whole in its military assault. It said the aim of the war was to "humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability".

Israel was also accused of deliberately targeting and killing civilians on numerous occasions, torturing Palestinian detainees and using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Most criticism was directed at Israel, but the report accused Palestinian resistance groups inside Gaza of deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with rockets fired into Israel during the war.

The report recommended that if inquiries were not launched in six months, the UN should refer the authorities to the International Criminal Court. The report has been referred to the UN Security Council, where it is likely that it will be vetoed by the United States.

Australia was joined by Israel, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and several Eastern European nations in voting against the resolution.

The report was voted up with 114 countries. Forty-four nations abstained from the vote, including most European Union countries that had unsuccessfully tried to soften the resolution's criticisms of Israel.

On October 16, the UN Human Rights Council passed the resolution 25 votes to six, with 11 countries abstaining.

Despite this, Israel's delusions claims to righteousness continue. Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Jerusalem Post on November 5: "We are satisfied that 18 countries, which constitute a moral majority, supported Israel's stance and that 44 abstained and did not vote with the automatic majority."

The Rupert Murdoch-owned Australian has led the charge in defending Israel's war crimes. After the October 19 UN Human Rights Council vote endorsing the report, the >em> Australian editorialised on October 21 that the vote was "a poisoned outcome" that ignored Israel's right to self-defence.

After the UNHCR vote endorsing the report detailing Israeli war crimes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advised his government to propose changes to the UN-recognised international rules of war, Al Jazeera said on October 21.
An October 20 statement from Netanyahu's office said: "The prime minister instructed the relevant government bodies to examine a worldwide campaign to amend the international laws of war to adapt them to the spread of global terrorism."

Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak told AFP on October 20: "It is in the interest of anyone fighting terrorism. We must give the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) the full backing to have the freedom of action."

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