US criticises 'unbalanced' probe into Gaza flotilla raid
The United States on Tuesday criticised a UN probe into Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, urging the Human Rights Council to prevent the report from being used to torpedo peace talks.
"We are concerned by the report's unbalanced language, tone and conclusions," US ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the Human Rights Council.
"We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks now underway or actions that could make it harder," she added.
A probe ordered by the UN Human Rights Council said last week there was clear evidence to back a prosecution against Israel for killing and torture when troops stormed the flotilla in May, leaving nine Turkish activists dead.
The report also threw out Israel's argument that the activists were violent, thereby justifying the decision by soldiers to open fire.
It found that no offensive weapons were taken on board any of the vessels of the flotilla except a few catapults.
From the outset, Israel has rejected the probe as biased.
Other Western states however, called for the report to be transmitted to the a separate United Nations probe into the incident which was set up by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Switzerland said it hopes that the separate inquiry "would take into account the analysis and conclusions of the Human Rights Council's probe."
The European Union also "encouraged Israel to follow-up on the conclusions" of the rights inquiry.
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders relaunched peace negotiations earlier this month but the fledgling process is already in danger after the expiry of a moratorium on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
© 2010 AFP