Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Follow-up to the Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Incident of the Humanitarian Flotilla Resolution
Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
Human Rights Council 16th Session
Geneva, March 25, 2011
Thank you, Mr. President.
We deeply regret the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident aboard the Gaza-bound ships last spring. We have repeatedly underscored the importance of a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation into the tragic events of May 31. We are committed to working with partners, including our longstanding friends Israel and Turkey, to ensure a full and appropriate response to the incident and the circumstances that led to it.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza. The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and is not in the interest of anyone who seeks peace. Mechanisms are in place to transfer humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and they should be used for the benefit of ordinary Gazans. We urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza—to ensure that Israel’s legitimate security needs are addressed as the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs are met. We commend recent steps taken to expand access to goods in Gaza. We continue to engage the Israelis 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 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, even as we bear in mind the Government of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
The tragic flotilla incident underscores the need to move ahead quickly with negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, including two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
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 commend the Secretary General’s constructive initiative in convening a panel to receive and review the results of Israel and Turkey’s investigations into the tragic incident. We continue to regard this panel as the primary method for the international community to review the incident. We note that the panel is reviewing both countries’ reports, and express our appreciation to the Secretary General for his efforts to establish this panel. We note that the Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission report referred to these ongoing processes and did not recommend further UN action on this matter. The United States opposed Resolution 15/1, and for the same reasons, we oppose the current resolution.
Accordingly, we must call a vote, and vote against this resolution.