Friday, November 06, 2009

New Zealand looks the other way on war crimes in Gaza

Back in September, the UN Human Rights Council's factfinding mission to Gaza found that both Israel and Palestinian militants committed war crimes in Israel's recent disproportionate campaign against Gaza. Today, the UN General Assembly voted to accept the report, demanding that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority conduct full and independent investigations into crimes committed by their forces, and charging the Secretary-General to report back within three months "with a view to considering further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies".

This is as fair and impartial a motion as you can get, demanding a full investigation by both sides. However, only 118 nations voted for it, with 18 opposed and 44 abstaining. New Zealand was in the latter group. That's right - on a fundamental matter of international law, we prefer to look the other way rather than uphold it. I guess the government didn't want to be called "anti-Semitic" for insisting that the law apply to all, and that neither Israel or Palestinian militant groups were allowed to murder civilians, use disproportionate force, and engage in collective punishment.

So much for being a "good international citizen" and a "strong voice for human rights"...