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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09BERN470
2009-11-03 18:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bern
Cable title:  

UNGA DISCUSSION OF GOLDSTONE REPORT

Tags:   PREL  PHUM  PTER  KPAL  IS  SZ  LS 
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VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSW #0470/01 3071806
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031806Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6154
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1145
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2898
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0342
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0253
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BERN 000470 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR IO/HR (P.KRUCHOSKI), IO/UNP (A.MORRISON), AND
NEA/IPA (J.GIAUQUE); USUN-NY FOR POL (E.GERMAIN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2019
TAGS: PREL PHUM PTER KPAL IS SZ LS
SUBJECT: UNGA DISCUSSION OF GOLDSTONE REPORT

REF: STATE 112828

Classified By: Acting POLE Counselor Chris Buck; reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
.

C O N F I D E N T I A L BERN 000470

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR IO/HR (P.KRUCHOSKI), IO/UNP (A.MORRISON), AND
NEA/IPA (J.GIAUQUE); USUN-NY FOR POL (E.GERMAIN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2019
TAGS: PREL PHUM PTER KPAL IS SZ LS
SUBJECT: UNGA DISCUSSION OF GOLDSTONE REPORT

REF: STATE 112828

Classified By: Acting POLE Counselor Chris Buck; reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
.


1. (C) Summary: The Swiss government has some understanding
for USG concerns regarding the Goldstone Report and the
resolution that will be discussed at the UN General Assembly
on November 4. The Swiss, however, do not share all of these
concerns, and generally have a sympathetic view of the
Goldstone Report. According to Swiss Special Envoy for
Middle East Affairs Jean-Daniel Ruch, Switzerland's approach
to the Goldstone Report is predicated on a conviction that
efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East do not
fundamentally conflict with the pursuit of accountability and
justice related to the fighting last winter in Gaza.
According to Ruch, the Swiss government would be compelled to
convene a conference of the high contracting parties of the
Fourth Geneva Convention, if the UNGA resolution passes and
includes a "mandate" to do so. However, in such case, the
Swiss would want to proceed in two-step fashion, beginning
with consultations and a report back to the UNGA, before
seeking to convene a conference. Although acknowledging --
in careful measure -- some USG concerns, Ruch said that he
did not expect the Swiss government would vote against the
UNGA resolution as currently drafted. He said that a final
decision had not yet been made, and did not entirely rule out
an abstention, but the tenor of his comments suggested
considerable sympathy for the current draft. Separately, the
Liechtenstein Foreign Office suggested that USUN-NY contact
counterparts at the Liechtenstein UN Mission in New York of a
substantive response to the USG's message regarding the UNGA
discussion and resolution. End Summary.


2. (SBU) In a November 3 meeting, acting POLE counselor
emphasized reftel concerns to Ambassador Jean-Daniel Ruch,
Special Envoy for Middle East Affairs at the Swiss Federal
Department of Foreign Affairs. Also on November 3, A/POLE

couns conveyed USG concerns separately to Andrea Hoch, UN
Human Rights Affairs Officer, Foreign Office, Principality of
Liechtenstein.

-------------- --
SWISS GENERALLY SYMPATHETIC TO GOLDSTONE REPORT
-------------- --


3. (C) Ambassador Ruch expressed some understanding for USG
concerns regarding the Goldstone Report and the resolution
that will be discussed at the UN General Assembly on November

4. He made clear, however, that the Swiss government does
not share all of these concerns, and generally has a
sympathetic view of the Goldstone Report. Ruch said that
Judge Goldstone visited Switzerland two weeks ago, and during
that visit challenged his critics to identify specifically
the flaws in the report. Ruch added that he personally would
be interested in promoting such "dialogue" about the report,
and inquired as to the source of the reftel point that the
report contains allegations that the report's authors admit
have not been fully corroborated. Ruch said that to his
knowledge, Goldstone had made no such concession.


4. (C) Regarding USG concern that the Goldstone Report does
not give sufficient weight to ongoing Israeli investigations,
Ruch responded that it was regrettable that Israel chose not
to cooperate with the Goldstone mission, arguing that, had
the Israelis cooperated, they could have gotten more "credit"
for those investigations. He also commented that major
international human rights NGOs had expressed skepticism
about the willingness of Israel to conduct thorough
investigations, and that this skepticism had been reinforced
by recent statements by some Israeli officials.


5. (C) Ruch underlined that the Swiss government appreciates
the USG's efforts to promote a comprehensive peace in the
Middle East. He noted that the GoS, via the Geneva
Initiative and other efforts, is attempting to support this
goal, while respecting the leading role played by the USG.
Ruch maintained, however, that Switzerland's approach to the
Goldstone Report is predicated on a conviction that efforts
to achieve peace in this case do not fundamentally conflict
with the pursuit of accountability and justice.

--------------
ELEMENTS OF THE RESOLUTION
--------------

6. (SBU) Ruch had a copy (dated November 2, 2009) of a draft
UNGA resolution on the Goldstone Report; he provided A/POLE
couns a copy of the draft, which post e-mailed to reftel
POCs. The draft resolution that the Swiss are reviewing:

-- endorses the report of the UNHRC Special Session on the
Goldstone Report;

-- calls on Israel and the "Palestinian side" to investigate
the allegations in the Goldstone report within three months;

-- recommends that the Swiss government, in its capacity as
depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention, "undertake the
necessary steps as soon as possible to reconvene a Conference
of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention on
measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to
ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1";

-- "requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
Assembly, within a period of three months, on the
implementation of the present resolution, with a view to
considering further action."


7. (C) Referring to the draft, Ruch assessed that the text
was more balanced than the resolution passed on October 16 in
the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). He added that he
expected that the sponsors of the resolution would respond
very rigidly to any suggestions to edit the text, which he
surmised already was the product of much "backroom"
wrangling. Ruch had the following comments on the individual
operative elements in the draft:

-- Endorsement of Goldstone Report: Seems difficult to
avoid, as the UNHRC resolution endorsed the report with less
balanced language. (Note: Ruch added that, although
Switzerland is not currently on the UNHRC, Ruch personally
worked very hard behind the scenes to try to promote a more
balanced resolution text in October. End Note)

-- Call for Investigations: Switzerland would support,
although the GoS agrees with USG concern that investigations
cannot be time-bound. The GoS would like to see pressure put
on the parties, however, to commence investigations.
Switzerland also strictly supports the principle of
complementarity, and does not believe that allegations should
be referred to other forums as long as the relevant national
governments are conducting credible investigations. (Note:
Ruch said that he had visited Gaza in October, and had the
impression from his meetings there that Palestinians in Gaza
could be convinced by international pressure to conduct
investigations into the Goldstone allegations regarding them.
End Note)

-- Fourth Geneva Convention: The Swiss government would be
compelled to convene a conference of the high contracting
parties, if the UNGA resolution passes and includes a
"mandate" to do so. However, in such case, the Swiss would
want to proceed in two-step fashion, beginning with
consultations and a report back to the UNGA, before seeking
to convene a conference. (Note: Ruch said that Switzerland
was working to try to alter the draft resolution language, to
clearly reflect a two-step process, having assessed that
seeking to remove the operative paragraph entirely would be a
non-starter with the resolution sponsors. He said that the
GoS, in any case, would start with consultations, and
emphasized that Switzerland would seek to consult early and
intensively with the USG, if the resolution passes with this
element in it. End Note) (Comment: Switzerland and the ICRC
are co-hosting a conference in Geneva November 9-10 to mark
the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. This raises
the current profile of Convention issues in Switzerland, and
will increase the scrutiny of the public and media regarding
Swiss government decisions on Convention related issues. End
Comment)

-- Report of the Secretary-General: Switzerland believes
that having some form of ongoing UN monitoring of Israeli and
Palestinian investigations into allegations of violations of
human rights and international humanitarian law would be
beneficial to all parties, arguing that it would increase the
legitimacy of their efforts in the eyes of skeptics.
Ensuring that the entity tasked with this monitoring is
unbiased, however, would be essential. (Note: Ruch said
that placing the UN Secretary General in this role offered a
good option for obtaining an unbiased monitoring body. End
Note)

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


8. (C) The Swiss have been sympathetic to the Goldstone
mission since its inception, acknowledging imbalance in
Goldstone's mandate, but willing to overlook that on the
precarious assumption that the final product would overcome
the cynical country group politics that gave rise to that
unbalanced mandate. Since the Goldstone Report was released
in September, Swiss officials tend to ascribe its principal
flaws to Israel's refusal to cooperate with the mission.


9. (C) Although acknowledging -- in careful measure -- some
USG concerns, Ruch said that he did not expect the Swiss
government would vote against the UNGA resolution as
currently drafted. He said that a final decision had not yet
been made, and did not entirely rule out an abstention, but
the tenor of his comments suggested considerable sympathy for
the draft.

--------------
LIECHTENSTEIN'S UN MISSION HAS LEAD
--------------


10. (SBU) Hoch informed acting POLE couns that
Liechtenstein's UN Mission has the lead in determining
Vaduz's position on the UNGA resolution on the Goldstone
Report. She therefore had not comment in substance, and
suggested that U.S. colleagues in New York contact
Liechtenstein counterparts directly for their reaction. Post
will report any substantive information on this issue that we
might yet obtain from Vaduz.
BEYER