US to Back Israel Again in the UNSC?

The US is opposing a draft resolution in the UNSC calling for an independent investigation into yesterday's tragedy

UPDATE: Al Arabiya is reporting that the UNSC has released a formal presidential statement after 10-15 hours of negotiating.  The statement condemns the acts ‘leading to the deaths of civilians’ and calls for an impartial investigation that stands up to international standards:

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday condemned acts leading to the deaths of civilians during Monday’s Israeli operation against an aid flotilla heading for Gaza and called for an impartial investigation.

In a formal statement adopted after more than 10 hours of closed-door negotiations, the council requested the immediate release of ships and civilians held by Israel and called the situation in Gaza not sustainable.

The U.S. objected to the explicit condemnation of Israel, which was amended to create unanimity on the council.

The Security Council’s 15 member governments agreed called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.

Though the story is also in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, it is not posted on the UN webpage yet, so I have yet to see the full text. As far as I can tell, the UNSC is not calling for an independent investigation, simply an impartial one.

[Original post]: The Washington Post has an article this morning about the progress in the emergency United Nations Security Council meeting that is being held to discuss the events of yesterday.  A draft proposal is apparently be circulated by Turkey that condemns Israel in harsh terms, calls for the blockade of Israel to be lifted, a formal Israeli apology and compensation for the victims.  None of this is surprising and should have been foreseen considering the Turkish government’s reaction to the crisis, calling the line between state and terrorism blurry.

[tweetmeme] What disappoints me, though, is that American officials are apparently working against a draft resolution that calls for an independent UN investigation of the events.  Though it is hardly surprising considering the American history of vetoing resolutions critical of its ally, it has still somehow shocked me.  After Obama’s initial mild response of ‘wait for the truth to come out,’ he is arguing against an investigation?  As Richard Silverstein points out, after the Goldstone Report, both Hamas and Israel were given time to conduct valid, transparent, internal investigations.  Both Hamas and Israel produced reports that details internal investigations that were neither valid nor transparent.  After the poor attempt at an investigation after Cast Lead, I would think that Israel has lost its credibility in internal investigations.  The US doesn’t think so.

From the article [my emphasis]:

“Turkey would like to see that the Security Council strongly reacts and adopts a presidential statement strongly condemning this Israeli act of aggression, demanding an urgent inquiry into the incident and calling for the punishment of all responsible authorities,” [Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu] said in an address to the 15-nation council. “I call on this council to step up and do what is expected of it.”

Behind closed doors, U.S. diplomats sought to prevent the council from authorizing a U.N. investigation into the Israeli raid, saying Israel should be given a chance to conduct a credible investigation first.

From Silverstein:

Just like the Goldstone commission gave Israel and Hamas an opportunity to conduct a credible investigation of their respective behavior during the Gaza war.  Look at the credible investigations they both conducted.  I’m sorry, but such behavior by U.S. diplomats is beyond pathetic.  They must know that we need a credible INDEPENDENT investigation, not a whitewash of the type that the IDF ALWAYS conducts in such circumstances.  The Netanyahu government has absolutely no motivation to conduct a viable inquiry.  None.  And delaying a UN investigation to give time for Israel to investigate itself is a means of obfuscation, hoping that the world’s attention will be deflected in the meantime.

Photo from Richard Silverstein

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