U.S. Explanation of Vote on the HRC Resolution on the situation in Gaza

United States Explanation of Vote
Human Rights Council 21st Special Session on Gaza

Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper,
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council

Geneva,
July 23, 2014

Mr. President,

The United States remains gravely concerned over the recent violence that has impacted Palestinian and Israeli civilians.  We are working intensively to secure an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas.  But this resolution will not help in achieving that goal. This resolution is not constructive, it is destructive.

The United States is deeply troubled by the resolution presented for adoption today.  We will vote against it.  Once again, this Council fails to address the situation in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories with any semblance of balance. There is no mention of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel or the tunnels used to cause mayhem.

Nor is the resolution tailored to act in furtherance of our shared goals.  Our goal is to facilitate an immediate cessation of hostilities. Let us be clear: This resolution will undermine achieving that objective.

The resolution also creates yet another one-sided mechanism targeting Israel.  The Commission of Inquiry this resolution calls for is a needless, duplicative effort.  This would be the fourth such investigation created by this body since 2006.  This resolution is not tailored towards impacting the human rights of Palestinians or Israelis.  It is a political and biased instrument. The resolution will cause real and lasting damage to this Council and its ability to comprehensively address human rights in this region.  This body already has a standing agenda item solely focused on Israel.  No other state faces such intense scrutiny.  It also has a special rapporteur with a virtually unlimited mandate that could review any relevant human rights question.  There is absolutely no need for an additional mechanism concerning Israel. 

Additionally, this resolution takes steps that are far outside the mandate of this Council by attempting to convene the high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions.  It is essential that we do not politicize these important treaties.  The action today threatens to do exactly that.

The United States calls for a vote and will vote NO on the draft resolution.  We call on other states to join us in voting against it.  We call on other states to underscore their opposition to any initiative of this Council that takes a one-sided approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It is essential that the community of nations takes a balanced approach to these issues. 

Thank you.