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Cablegate: Opposing Unga Resolutions with Anti-Israel Bias

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TO ALL DIPLOMATIC POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 3885
INFO RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM IMMEDIATE 3725

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 STATE 123081

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNGA IS PA LE SY
SUBJECT: OPPOSING UNGA RESOLUTIONS WITH ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

--------------------------
SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST
--------------------------

1. (SBU) Posts are requested to approach highest
appropriate officials in host governments in pursuit of
the following objectives:

-- to pursue reduction in the overall number of one-sided
UN General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East; and,

-- to defeat three resolutions reaffirming the existence
and activities of the "Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," the "
Division for Palestinian Rights within the UN
Secretariat," and the "Special Committee to Investigate
Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the
Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied
Territories."

Posts may draw on the background in paragraphs 3-5, the
listing of resolutions in paragraph 6 (which may be left
as an aide memoire), and talking points in para 13 in
making this demarche. As indicated in paragraphs 7-12,
countries that have previously voted "yes" should be urged
to vote "no," or at least abstain or absent themselves
from the voting. Those that have abstained or been absent
should be urged to vote "no." Chiefs of Mission may
exercise discretion in determining what method to use in
conveying firm U.S. opposition to these one-sided
resolutions in order to elicit the most constructive
possible outcome. All posts are encouraged to make U.S.
opposition to such resolutions a standard part of our
regular dialogue with host governments about UNGA matters
and the Middle East.

-----------------------------
POINT OF CONTACT AND DEADLINE
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Responses are requested by opening of business
EST, Monday, November 24. In replies to the Department,
please indicate at what level the demarche was delivered
and slug responses for IO/UNP Andrew Morrison and the
appropriate regional coordinator.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

3. (U) Each fall, when the UN General Assembly meets, a
disproportionate number of one-sided resolutions related
to the Middle East are considered and adopted. At the
62nd UNGA in 2007-8, for example, of 278 resolutions
adopted, 21 had as their main focus explicit criticism of
Israeli actions and/or support for the Palestinian people
with a criticism of Israeli actions clearly implied.
This, despite the fact that the situation in the Middle
East is reviewed in monthly briefings in the Security
Council and periodic reports of the Quartet (UN, U.S.,
Russia, EU), and that negotiations between the two sides
are underway. This year, starting on November 24-25 and
continuing throughout December, a similar number of
redundant, one-sided resolutions -- essentially identical
to those presented last year -- will again be considered.

4. (U) The U.S. sees no contradiction between support for
the Palestinian people and support for Israel. Our
clearly stated goal is for there to be two democratic
states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace
and security. We back up our policy with substantial
diplomatic support for both sides consistent with the
process launched in Annapolis in November 2007, and
significant financial support to the Palestinian Authority
and to Palestinian refugees, for whom the U.S. is the
largest single-state donor. The U.S. views the UNGA's
extraordinary, one-sided fixation against Israel as deeply
corrosive and harmful to balanced, good-faith efforts to
achieve a just and lasting peace.

5. (SBU) The USG has two long-term goals with respect to
the UNGA's handling of this issue. First, we seek a
reduction in the overall number of these resolutions,
which can come as countries join us in realizing their
redundancy and starting to vote against or abstain on at
least some of them. Second, we seek to defeat three

STATE 00123081 002 OF 006


resolutions in particular that reaffirm the existence and
activities of three UN bodies which -- unlike any others
in the UN system -- have as their inherent purpose the
promotion of a culture of bias against one UN member
state, (i.e., Israel). These three bodies are the
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the
Palestinian People; the Division for Palestinian Rights
within the UN Secretariat; and the Special Committee to
Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights
of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied
Territories. Not only do these bodies consume UN
resources while making no useful contribution to Middle
East peace and the two-state solution, they also help
create what amounts to a self-perpetuating echo chamber,
helping to justify the UNGA's continuing disproportionate
fixation on this issue. Gradually, an increasing number
of member states have been abstaining on these three
resolutions.

------------------------
UNGA Resolutions in 2007
------------------------

6. (U) In 2007 the UNGA passed fourteen resolutions
explicitly criticizing Israel, plus seven expressing
support for the Palestinian people vis-a-vis their
relationship to Israel. (To place this in context, only
six other UNGA resolutions explicitly criticized specific
member states -- North Korea, Iran, Belarus, Burma,
Armenia and the U.S.) Posts may provide the following
list of resolutions to host-country interlocutors as a
non-paper:

Resolutions of the 62nd UNGA explicitly critical of
Israel:

-- Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli
Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian
People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
(62/106);

-- Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine
(62/83);

-- Jerusalem (62/84);

-- The Syrian Golan (62/85);

-- The Occupied Syrian Golan (62/110);

-- Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People in the
Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,
and of the Arab Population in the Occupied Syrian Golan
over their Natural Resources (62/181);

-- Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August
1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including
East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories
(62/107);

-- Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, including East Jerusalem and the Occupied
Syrian Golan (62/108);

-- Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the
Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including East Jerusalem (62/109);

-- Palestinian Refugees' Property and their Revenues
(62/105);

-- Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works
Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (62/104);

-- Oil Slick on Lebanese Shores (62/188);

-- Financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
(62/265) (Note: Out of seventeen UNGA resolutions funding
peacekeeping operations, including the forces for Darfur
and the Congo, only this one criticizes the actions of a
UN member state);

-- The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East
(62/56) (Note: Israel is the only state mentioned by
name.)

Resolutions of the 62nd UNGA expressing support for the
Palestinian people:


STATE 00123081 003 OF 006


-- Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of
the Palestinian People (62/80)

-- Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat
(62/81)

-- Special Information Programme on the Question of
Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the
Secretariat (62/82)

-- Assistance to the Palestinian People (62/93)

-- Assistance to Palestinian Refugees (62/102)

-- Persons Displaced as a result of the June 1967 and
Subsequent Hostilities (62/103)

-- The Right of the Palestinian People to
Self-Determination (62/146)

7. (U) The 2007 voting record in the 62nd UNGA on the key
resolutions reaffirming three UN bodies were as follows:

-- Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of
the Palestinian People (resolution 62/80), approved 109-8,
with 55 abstentions;

-- Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat
(resolution 62/81), approved 110-8 with 54 abstentions;

-- Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli
Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian
People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
(resolution 62/106), approved 93-8 with 74 abstentions.

8. (U) In 2007, the following countries voted in favor of
all three key resolutions listed in paragraph 6:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua-Barbuda, Azerbaijan,
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin,
Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso,
Burma, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chile, China,
Congo, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea,
Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia,
Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People's
Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia,
Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco,
Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint
Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia,
Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago,
Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of
Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia,
and Zimbabwe.

9. (U) In 2007, the following countries voted against
these same three key resolutions: Australia, Canada,
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and
the United States.

10. (U) In 2007, the following countries abstained or were
absent for the votes on all three resolutions: 62/80,
62/81 and 62/106: Albania, Andorra, Belgium, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia,
Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Estonia, Equatorial Guinea,
Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala,
Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan,
Republic of Korea, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Moldova,
Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania,
Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome,
Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Ukraine, United
Kingdom, and Vanuatu.

11. (U) The following countries had mixed voting records
in 2007:

Argentina, Bahamas, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, El
Salvador, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Malta,
Mexico, Philippines and Swaziland -- Yes on 62/80 and
62/81; abstained or absent on 62/106.

Dominica -- Absent on 62/80 and 62/81; Yes on 62/106.

Armenia -- Yes on 62/80 and 62/106; abstained on 62/81.


STATE 00123081 004 OF 006


Panama, Uruguay -- Abstained on 62/80 and 62/106; Yes on
62/81.

12. (U) Note: In addition to the 17 Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM) members who abstained on resolution 62/106 in 2007
(i.e., Bahamas, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire,
Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mongolia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines,
Thailand, and Vanuatu), ten other NAM states occasionally
abstained on the same resolution over the period
2003-2006, though not all at the same time:

-- Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi,
Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Jamaica, Rwanda,
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uganda.

Posts in these nations may wish to make a special effort
to encourage host governments to resume abstaining on this
and other resolutions. Other posts in the Caribbean,
Central African and Pacific island areas in which most of
these 27 recent NAM abstentions were concentrated may wish
to encourage host governments to join with neighboring NAM
nations in abstaining or at least absenting themselves
from the vote on these resolutions. End Note.

--------------------------------------------- -
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ON MIDDLE EAST SITUATION
--------------------------------------------- -

13. (U) Begin Talking Points:

-- With respect to the situation in the Middle East, the
U.S. has clearly stated our policy that there should be
two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side
by side in peace and security. We back up our policy by
substantial diplomatic support for both sides consistent
with the process launched in Annapolis in November 2007,
and significant financial support to the Palestinian
Authority and to Palestinian refugees, for whom the U.S.
is the largest single-state donor.

-- We see no contradiction whatsoever between support for
the Palestinian people and support for Israel. Both sides
need support to be able to take the steps necessary for a
just and lasting peace.
-- Each year, therefore, we are appalled and discouraged
as the UN General Assembly unhelpfully takes up a
disproportionate number of resolutions related to the
Middle East, all unbalanced by their explicit or implicit
one-sided criticism of Israel.

-- These resolutions are repetitive and unbalanced, and
are completely unlike the UNGA's action with respect to
any other member state, geographic area or issue. They
place demands on the Israeli side while failing to
acknowledge that both sides have obligations and must take
difficult steps towards peace.

-- The U.S. accepts the principle that the UNGA may look
into the practices of individual states. However, last
year the UNGA adopted only six resolutions specifically
critical of member states other than Israel. We supported
some of these resolutions and opposed others. Four
focused on severe human rights abuses in North Korea
(62/167), Iran (62/168), Belarus (62/69), and Burma
(62/162); one called for Armenia to end its occupation of
Azerbaijani territory (62/243); and one called for the
U.S. to end its embargo of Cuba (62/3).

-- Last year, the UNGA adopted 14 resolutions specifically
critical of Israel and seven expressing support for the
Palestinian people vis-a-vis their relationship to
Israel. It is set to do so again this year. All told,
these 21 resolutions took up 61 pages of text, compared to
20 pages for the resolutions criticizing the six other
states. (The list at para 4 may be provided as a
non-paper.)

-- Whatever the merits of the issue, this represents an
extraordinarily disproportionate and unjustified focus on
one member state. The situation in the Middle East is an
important matter, but looked at in relation to the overall
problems facing the planet, this matter does not warrant
three-quarters of the time and energy the UNGA devotes to
critical review of the actions of member states.

-- Just as serious as their disproportionality, the
resolutions serve more to undermine than to assist the
ongoing negotiations and the credibility of the UN:


STATE 00123081 005 OF 006


-- They undermine the institutional credibility of the UN,
which as a member of the Quartet (U.S., EU, UN, Russia),
must be seen by both sides as an honest broker in
facilitating a resolution to the Middle East conflict.

-- They have no positive effect in helping achieve a just
resolution of the conflict. Indeed, they can have a
serious corrosive affect both by convincing many on the
Israeli side that they will be treated unfairly by the UN
no matter what concessions they offer, and by convincing
extremist elements on the Palestinian side that they will
not be criticized no matter what they do, up to and
including terrorist attacks targeting civilians.

-- They presuppose the outcome of permanent status issues,
such as the right of return, checkpoints and settlement
activity, that properly belong in ongoing bilateral
negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,
thus making it more difficult to resolve such issues.

-- They add nothing to the far more detailed and
up-to-date monthly discussions of the Security Council on
the situation in the Middle East.

-- For these reasons, we call on all member states to join
us in instructing Missions in New York to vote against or
abstain on these resolutions, or at least to absent their
delegations when they come up for a vote.

-- We will take note of and be most appreciative of any
change of vote from "yes" to abstain or not voting, or
from abstain to "no" that your country may be able to
effect. For those already joining us in opposition to
these resolutions we reiterate our thanks.

-- Of particular concern to the U.S. are three resolutions
extending three UN bodies, established more than a
generation ago, which do not contribute to the achievement
of peace in the region: the Committee on the Exercise of
the Inalienable rights of the Palestinian People; the
Division for Palestinian Rights; and the Special Committee
to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human
Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the
Occupied Territories.

-- These bodies perpetuate the perception of an inherent
UN bias inconsistent with support for the Roadmap, which
properly demands actions from both sides, not just Israel.

-- The time has come for the UN General Assembly to review
these entities in light of their actual contribution, or
lack of contribution, towards a solution for the conflict
in the Middle East. The General Assembly can best play a
role in supporting peace in the region by demonstrating a
balanced approach to the parties to the conflict.

-- Over the past several years, support for these
resolutions has eroded. Last year, over 75 countries
voted "no" or abstained on all three resolutions. For the
vote on the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli
Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian
People, the combined "no" votes and abstentions almost
equaled the "yes" of 90. Clearly, there is no longer
anything close to consensus support for these bodies.

-- (For Ankara only) The Government of Turkey deserves
special praise for its efforts in facilitating indirect
talks between Syria and Israel on the Golan and other
issues. To maintain its impartiality (and the undisputed
appearance of impartiality) in this role, Turkey should
abstain on all Golan-related UNGA resolutions, and
encourage other states to join it in so doing.

-- (For Valetta and Nicosia Only) Your country is one of
only two in the EU that participate in the Committee on
the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People. We urge you to consider discontinuing your
membership, which does not contribute to a balanced or
constructive UN role in the Middle East Peace Process.

-- (For Nassau, Ouagadougou, Santo Domingo, San Salvador,
Guatemala City, Port-au-Prince, Tegucigalpa, Monrovia,
Mexico City, Abuja, Panama City, Lima, St Lucia and
Montevideo Only) Earlier this year we discussed with your
Head of State/Foreign Minister the dissonance between our
two countries' close relationship and our lack of voting
coincidence with each other at the UN. The resolutions
noted above are among the important votes on which we have
been hoping for an improvement in this voting coincidence.


STATE 00123081 006 OF 006

End Talking Points.

14. Tripoli minimize considered.
RICE

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