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HRC Special Session / Goldstone Report – Excerpt from Oct. 14 Noon Briefing
October 14, 2009

Ian Kelly, State Department Spokesperson

QUESTION: Israel’s ambassador to the UN said just a little while ago that they will not return to any peace talks with the Palestinians, as long as the Palestinians are pursuing their claim at the UN to prosecute or to somehow penalize Israel on allegations of war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Do you have anything on that?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think you also heard from the Deputy UN ambassador – U.S. Ambassador to the UN Ambassador Wolff, who a short time ago framed this in terms of a choice between statehood and conflict. I think we’ve – we regret the fact that the course that was laid out recently in the Human Rights Council is not the one being followed. As Ambassador Wolff said, while we have concerns about the balance in the report, at the same time we take the issues in the report very seriously. It is, as we’ve talked about, a very lengthy report, a very complex report, one that lends – should lend itself to a deliberate process, a chance for careful consideration of what’s in the report, a chance for the Israelis and Palestinians to investigate what’s in the report and take appropriate action.

We thought that the resolution in the HRC recently that laid out a process of deliberation leading to a further consideration of the report in March – the fact that some have brought this today to the Security Council during a meeting that was regularly scheduled regarding Middle East issues, and now we have a special session tomorrow in Geneva. We think that special sessions should be reserved for particular issues that are urgent at this particular time. And we, unfortunately, think that the steps that are being taken today and later this week mitigate against the kind of deliberative process that we think is appropriate.