Yitzhak Benhorin
June 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Malaysia, backed by the Arab states, has initiated a UN debate regarding the Turkish flotilla events, which is slated to be held during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington. The Arab states and Non-Aligned countries are working to keep the issue on the international agenda.

Israel is slated to be the target of fierce criticism by Muslim and Third World countries during the proposed General Assembly session, which will include a vote on Malaysia's resolution proposal. A vote in the Assembly has no operational significance but is of great PR value as part of the international campaign to pressure Israel on the matter.

It should be noted that the Goldstone Report has been brought for a vote in the General Assembly, however the Obama administration prevented it from being discussed by the Security Council.

Following the raid, the Security Council issued a statement calling for an immediate, credible and independent investigation of the flotilla events. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also commented on the matter several times.

The US, which endorsed the Security Council statement, sees it as a call to Israel to conduct an independent, reliable inquiry with international observers, just as Israel's government has done with the establishment of the Turkel committee. In effect, this means that the US will not allow the Security Council to adopt an operational resolution against Israel.

US policy endorses an Israeli inquiry and the opening of Gaza Strip crossings to allow the transfer of goods. The UN chief, however, is not satisfied with the Israeli commission of inquiry and is trying to promote a third-party investigation involving both Israel and Turkish elements.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is currently working to prevent the step and has discussed the matter with Ban and US administration officials in Washington.

Barak has asked Ban to suspend his initiative and allow the Israeli committee to prove itself. During meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the minister explained the government's decisions and worked to enhance coordination with the US administration.


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