First Published: 2009-10-06

Abbas may reverse Goldstone report stance

Abbas's decision comes 'in light of the controversy that has arisen' around Goldstone report.


Middle East Online

Better late than never

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas was on Tuesday "seriously studying" the possibility of asking that a UN Gaza war report be passed on to the Security Council, a senior official said.

"President Abbas is seriously studying the possibility of asking the Arab and Islamic bloc to officially take the Goldstone report to international bodies, including the UN General Assembly and the Security Council," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a phone call from Amman.

The move appeared to mark a change in position, as the Palestinian delegation on Friday backed a move at the UN Human Rights Council to defer a vote on whether the report should be passed on.

Erakat said Abbas's decision came "in light of the controversy that has arisen" around the report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during its three-week Gaza war that erupted December 27.

"We want to discuss the report in international bodies so they will take decisions on what emerged in the report, in order to insure that the crimes committed by Israel against our people are never repeated," he said.

On Friday, the Palestinian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva dropped its support for the report, paving the way for Arab and Islamic states who had supported it to vote to delay its discussion for six months.

The move was widely seen as a response to intense pressure from the United States and Israel, which warned that the 49-member council's adoption of the report could torpedo efforts to relaunch Middle East peace talks.

The Palestinian democratically elected Hamas movement ruling Gaza has led a chorus of criticism of the move, accusing Abbas of betraying the 1,400 mainly-civilian Palestinians killed in Israel's offensive.

Abbas was to visit Italy on Tuesday before returning to the West Bank town of Ramallah on Wednesday, where he was to convene a meeting of Palestinian leaders to discuss the report.


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