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Explanation of U.S. Vote on HRC Resolution Related to the Report of the Fact-Finding Mission pursuant to Resol
October 1, 2010

Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

UN Human Rights Council, 15th Session
Geneva, September 29, 2010

As prepared for delivery

UN Human Rights Council – U.S. Mission Photo

Thank you, Mr. President.

As we consider this item we are mindful of our deep regret for the loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident aboard the Gaza-bound ships in late May of this year. In June, we noted the importance of a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation into these tragic events. We continue to hold that view and believe we must resist the tendency to reach conclusions without the opportunity for a full examination of the facts and perspectives from all sides. We commend the Secretary General’s constructive initiative in convening a panel that will receive and review the results of Israel and Turkey’s investigations, and we welcome the spirit of cooperation that it represents. We continue to regard this panel as the primary method for the international community to review the incident. We again express our appreciation to the Secretary General for his efforts to establish this panel, and to the governments of Turkey and Israel for their constructive participation. We note that the Fact-Finding Mission Report referred to these ongoing processes, and did not recommend further UN action.

The United States remains deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza. We continue to believe the situation in Gaza is unsustainable and is not in the interest of any of those concerned. As we have pointed out in the past, mechanisms are in place for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. These mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza. We commend recent steps taken to expand access to goods in Gaza and will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with international NGOs and the UN, to provide adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction materials, through the border crossings, while bearing in mind the Government of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

This incident underscores the needs to move ahead quickly with negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. Direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians have been resumed, and all parties should help create an environment conducive to progress in these talks. We should all be working to advance the cause of peace.

The United States was opposed to Resolution 14/1, which handed this Fact-Finding Mission a flawed mandate—something the Mission itself acknowledged in its report. We also oppose the current resolution’s recommendation that the General Assembly consider the Fact-Finding Mission Report.

For all these reasons, we have voted against the resolution.