For Australian diplomacy – usually little more than a rubber-stamp for everything Israel does – this is significant:
Australia was last night preparing to abstain in a United Nations vote on a resolution urging Israel and the Palestinian Authority to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during last year’s war in Gaza.
The UN General Assembly was expected to vote this morning.
Allegations of war crimes committed by Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas were raised in a report by the South African judge Richard Goldstone.
In a strong show of support for Israel, Australia was one of only a few countries to vote against a similar resolution last year.
An abstention by Australia would represent a significant shift away from Israel and would be interpreted as a sign of the Rudd government’s anger over revelations this week that fake Australian passports were used in the operation to assassinate the Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mahbouh.