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Cablegate: Human Rights Council Third Special Session: Once

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OO RUEHAT
DE RUEHGV #2913/01 3191905
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151905Z NOV 06
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1808
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1687
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0064
RUEHLS/AMEMBASSY LUSAKA 0308
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 4144

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 GENEVA 002913

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR IO/RHS, DRL/MLGA, L/HRR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNHRC
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL THIRD SPECIAL SESSION: ONCE
AGAIN CONDEMNS ISRAEL


GENEVA 00002913 001.2 OF 004


Summary
--------

1. (U) The Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded its third
Special Session November 15 with the passage of a one-sided
resolution condemning Israeli military operations in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the death of
civilians in Beit Hanoun November 8, by a vote of 32-8-6.
The resolution accuses Israel of inflicting collective
punishment on Palestinian civilians, and of violating
international humanitarian law and human rights law. It also
calls for a high-level fact-finding mission to travel to Beit
Hanoun. The call for the Special Session was supported by the
OIC, Arab League and NAM. The vote was called by Canada. The
European Union, which intended to vote no as a unified
position, split when France changed to an abstention.
General statements from OIC and Arab League members were
predictably harsh and condemnatory of Israel, absolving the
Palestinian government and Hamas of all blame. Western Group
and most GRULAC statements also condemned the events at Beit
Hanoun, but called for balance in the Council's handling of
the situation and stressed that Hamas and the Palestinian
authority were complicit in the increasing violence by
attacking Israel. The U.S. statement delivered by the
Ambassador can be found on U.S. Mission Geneva's website.
End Summary.

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One Issue Special Sessions
--------------------------

2. (U) In what has become a disturbing trend in the Human
Rights Council, the Organization of the Islamic Conference
(OIC) and the Arab League used their superior numbers to
force the third special session of the Council to condemn
Israeli military operations. On this occasion the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) supported the request for the
session. The request, which must be signed by 16 HRC
members, was signed by Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Ghana, India,
Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Zambia. At the urging of the
OIC the session was held November 15 limiting the time for
preparations and consultations, which point noted by a
handful of delegations in their statements.

3. (U) The OIC tabled a resolution, entitled "Human Rights
violations emanating from Israeli military incursions in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent one in
Northern Gaza and the assault on Beit Hannoun," (text in para
9), which harshly accused Israel of engaging in collective
punishment by "willfully targeting civilians", and violating
international humanitarian law, international human rights
law. The resolution called for the immediate dispatch of a
high level fact-finding mission to be appointed by the HRC
president to: 1) assess the situation of victims; 2) address
the needs of survivors; and 3) make recommendations on ways
and means to protect Palestinian civilians against further
Israeli assaults. It also requests the UN Secretary-General
and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide
administrative, technical, and logistical assistance to allow
the fact-finding team, which would be made up of two-to-four
members, to carry out its mission. Finally, it requests that
the mission report back to the Council no later than
mid-December 2006. Foreshadowing the possibility of fourth
special session on the Middle East, the resolution asks that
the fact-finding mission report to the HRC "no later than the
middle of December 2006." Note: The next regular session of
the Council will take place November 27-December 8. Since
arrangements for the mission have yet to be made and its
membership still to be determined, it is improbable that the
group would be in position to report withing three weeks. End
note.

4. (U) The resolution was co-sponsored primarily by OIC
member countries: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh,
Belarus, Brunei, Chad, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, India,
Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mali,
Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan,
Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United

GENEVA 00002913 002.2 OF 004


Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zambia.

5. (U) The vote was as follows:

YES (32) - Algeria; Argentina; Azerbaijan; Bahrain;
Bangladesh; Brazil; China; Cuba; Djibouti; Ecuador; Gabon;
Ghana; India; Indonesia; Jordan; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritius;
Mexico; Morocco; Nigeria; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines;
Russia; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; South Africa; Sri Lanka;
Tunisia; Uruguay; and Zambia.

NO (8) - Canada; Czech Republic; Finland; Germany;
Netherlands; Poland; Romania; and UK.

ABSTAIN (6) - France; Guatemala; Japan; Republic of Korea;
Switzerland; and Ukraine.

NOT PRESENT (no vote) - Cameroon.

Increased Support for Session
-----------------------------

6. (U) In discussions with U.S. Mission, the increased
support for the session was explained by many as a reaction
to increasing violence in Gaza and the events in Beit Hanoun.
While many acknowledged that Israel had apologized and
launched an investigation into the incident, they said it was
not enough. They characterized Israel's military operations
in Gaza as disproportionate and insufficiently concerned
about causing civilian casualties. GRULAC delegations in
particular said that had the UN Security Council resolution
been approved, they would have reconsidered their support for
the one-sided special session resolution. In their
explanations of vote (EOV) Argentina, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil
(with Ecuador), and Uruguay noted the unbalanced resolution
but stressed that Israeli actions were unacceptable. Japan's
and France's EOVs also pointed to the one-sided nature of the
resolution and its failure to call to account the Palestinian
Hamas-led government for its actions and rejection of
negotiations. They also called for the Council to take a
more balanced approach by addressing urgent situations
throughout the world. Interestingly, a number of delegations
who voted for the resolution shared with Mission officers
their concerns regarding the damage to the Council's
credibility if it continues to deal with only one situation
and allows itself to be railroaded by the OIC's agenda.

7. (U) The European Union (with Japan) sought, but was
rebuffed, to amend the resolution to condemn Hamas' call for
terrorists acts against Israel and for the launching of
rockets from Gaza against civilian targets in Israel. The
OIC's rejection of the amendments was not sufficient,
however, to maintain EU unity against the text. The French
delegation, which had told us they were a firm no vote,
received instructions midday to abstain. We understand that a
small number of EU members may have been urging EU support
for the resolution, while others remained firmly opposed.
Ukraine had instructions to vote no if the EU in unison voted
no, otherwise they were to abstain. Japan, concerned about
alienating OIC support for the DPRK resolution in Third
Committee, opted to abstain. Ambassador Tichenor delivered
the U.S. statement, which noted our sorrow at the loss of
life in Beit Hanoun, highlighted the Council's failure to
deal equitably and fairly with serious human rights
situations worldwide, and pointed to Hamas' complicity in the
violence.

The U.S.
--------

8. (U) A number delegations noted in their general statements
the U.S. veto of the UN Security Council resolution. Cuba,
Malaysia, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Costa Rica, North Korea,
and Egypt said that the UNSC's failure to adopt a resolution
on the situation increased the urgency of having HRC action
on the issue. Cuba, Egypt and Syria charged that Israel's
lack of restraint was due to U.S. protection as demonstrated
by the U.S. veto. The Palestian observer used the American
Revolution and George Washington ("was considered a
terrorist") as examples to follow in overthrowing tyrany and
even quoted Thomas Payne.

GENEVA 00002913 003.2 OF 004

Resolution Text
---------------

9. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF RESOLUTION--

"Human Rights Violations emanating from Israeli military
incursions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including
the recent one in Northern Gaza and the assault on Beit
Hanoun"

The Human Rights Council,

Affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention
relative to the Protection of Civil Persons in Time of War,
of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory
including East Jerusalem,

Gravely concerned at the continued violation by the occupying
Power, Israel, of the human rights of the Palestinian people
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,

Recognizing that the Israeli military incursions in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the recent
incursion in Northern Gaza and the assault on Beit Hanoun,
constitute a collective punishment of the civilians therein
and exacerbate the severe humanitarian crisis in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory,

Taking note of the sense of shock expressed by the Secretary
General on the Israeli military operations carried out in
Beit Hanoun on November 8;

Emphasizing that the Israeli willful killing of Palestinian
civilians including women and children constitutes a gross
violation of human rights law and international humanitarian
law,

Affirming that under international humanitarian law, the
medical personnel and means of transport of the Palestine Red
Crescent Society must be protected and respected in all
circumstances,

1. Expressing its shock at the horror of Israeli killing of
Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun while asleep and other
civilians fleeing earlier Israeli bombardment;

2. Condemns the Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians,
including women and children, as well as medics in Beit
Hanoun and other Palestinian towns and villages, and calls
for bringing the perpetrators thereof to justice;

3. Denounces the Israeli massive destruction of Palestinian
homes, property and infrastructure in Beit Hanoun;

4. Expresses its alarm at the gross and systematic violations
of human rights of the Palestinian people in
the Occupied Palestinian Territory by the occupying Power,
Israel, and calls for urgent international action to put an
immediate end to these violations including those emanating
from the series of incessant and repeated Israeli military
incursions therein;

5. Calls for immediate protection of the Palestinian
civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in compliance
with human rights law and international humanitarian law;

5 bis. "Urges all concerned parties to respect the rules of
international humanitarian law, to refrain from violence
against civilian population and to treat under all
circumstances all detained combatants and civilians in
accordance with the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949;

6. Decides to dispatch urgently a high-level fact-finding
mission to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights
Council to travel to Beit Hanoun to inter alia, assess the
situation of victims; b) address the needs of survivors; and
c) make recommendations on ways and means to protect
Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults.

7. Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High

GENEVA 00002913 004.2 OF 004


Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all administrative,
technical and logistical assistance required to enable the
fact-finding mission to fulfill its mandate promptly and
efficiently;

8. Requests the fact-finding mission to report to the Council
no later than the middle of December 2006 on progress made
towards the fulfillment of its mandate.

--END TEXT


TICHENOR

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