U.S. Closes Door On Gaza Report

YERUSHALAYIM -

The United States will not allow the new U.N. report on the Gaza war to be taken up for discussion in the Security Council, supporting Israel’s condemnation of the report as biased.

“And so we’re not going to have a readout of this,” John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said. “We’re not going to have a rebuttal to it. We’re certainly going to read it, as we read all U.N reports. But we challenge the very foundation upon which this report was written, and we don’t believe that there’s a call or a need for any further Security Council work on this.”

The UNHRC is set to discuss the report on June 29 and may vote to send it to the Security Council for further action. The U.S. will not participate in the process.

When asked if the report should be referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate the sides for war crimes, Kirby replied that the U.S. does not “support any further U.N. work on this report.”

On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that while Israel has a “right to self-defense,” the U.S. “expressed deep concern about the civilians in Gaza that were in harm’s way [during the war]. And we urged all parties to do everything they could to protect innocent civilians who were essentially caught in the crossfire of this conflict,” Earnest said. “We await further outcomes from the Israeli government on this particular matter.”

It was not clear what outcomes he referred to, but Israel has been conducting multiple investigations into individual offenses during Operation Protective Edge and is under pressure to hand down indictments and punishments.

The Israeli government has rejected outright the report’s suggestion that the IDF did not take adequate precautions to avoid civilian casualties, and deplored its equating of actions taken in self-defense with the deliberate Hamas targeting of civilian populations and use of its own people as human shields.

Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats were at work trying to assemble a “moral minority” on the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, which is expected to formally endorse the report next week.

The member EU countries —  Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK — are being lobbied by the Israel Foreign Ministry to vote against it. Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Paraguay, South Korea and Russia are also on the list of those who might be persuaded to vote with Israel.