The U.S. State Department spokesman told journalists on Monday that the current official U.S. position is that the views of the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, U.S. Professor Richard Falk, are “not fair”, and are in fact “biased”.
But, the State Department spokesman said, the U.S. believed that investigations into what happened in Gaza — into Israel’s conduct of the 22-day Operation Cast Lead — should go forward. But, they should be unbiased.
Here is a full transcript, as provided by the State Department:
“QUESTION: Does the United States support the call by the UN rapporteur Professor Falk before the UN Human Rights Council for an independent inquiry into possible war crimes in Gaza by both Israel and Hamas?
MR. WOOD: Look, we’ve expressed our concern many times about the special rapporteur’s views on dealing with that question, and we’ve found the rapporteur’s views to be anything but fair. We find them to be biased. We’ve made that very clear.
QUESTION: But my question is: Do you support the call that was also echoed by Archbishop Tutu and Amnesty International to call for an independent inquiry – committee of inquiry into possible war crimes?
MR. WOOD: Well, as I’ve said to you before, those types of investigations with regard to where there are charges being made, whether it being it’s one side or the other, there will be, I’m sure, people, organizations will be looking into these. And we need to let those go forward. I don’t have anything further beyond that.
QUESTION: In the framework of the Human Rights Council?
MR. WOOD: I’m just saying – I’ve already spoken to, I think, our view about the Human Rights Council, certainly to the UN special rapporteur’s role, and we viewed them as biased. And I don’t have anything further to add to that.
QUESTION: Wait, I just want to make sure I understand. You do – you support an investigation into war crimes?
MR. WOOD: No. I’ve said – you are trying to twist my words.
QUESTION: No, no, no, I’m not.
MR. WOOD: What I said —
QUESTION: I’m trying to make sure I understood what you just said.
MR. WOOD: What I said was —
QUESTION: You said there are going to be calls and inquiries.
MR. WOOD: I said there will be calls and —
QUESTION: And that they should go ahead.
MR. WOOD: No, no, no. What I —
QUESTION: I’m not trying to twist your words. I just want to make sure I understood what you said.
MR. WOOD: What I was trying – what I’m saying here is that you’re going to have these types of investigations and calls for, you know, there to be investigations, whether it be of one side or the other. And that’s likely to be something that will happen, and that’s not going to be anything that we’re going to be able to do – excuse me, to prevent. What we want to see, if there are going to be these types of investigations, they need to be non-biased. They need to take into account the situations on the ground, the realities on the ground, and go from there” …