25 February 2018

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Mahmoud Abbas backtracks, says postponing vote on Goldstone Report a mistake

The president of the Palestinian National Authority disowns decision taken a week ago in Geneva. Meanwhile the signing of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal set for 25 October in Cairo is called off.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he is reversing his decision to have the vote on the Goldstone Report in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) postponed until March. On 2 October, the Palestinian representative had agreed to delay the vote on the report that accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes in last January’s Gaza War.

In a video message on Saturday, Abbas said the postponement was a mistake and that he had given the Palestinian representative at the UNHCR instructions to call for a vote. The earlier decision was the result of Israeli and US pressures.

The president’s change of heart was the result of protests in Ramallah and throughout the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinians protested against Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), calling the delay an “insult to the people.”

Abbas tried to defend his first decision to agree to a six-month deferral by suggesting that, “the deferral came after an agreement between all the groups in the Human Rights Council, and after studying all positions and seeking the utmost support for the project”.

The UNHRC vote on the Goldstone report will determine further UN initiatives on the Gaza War.

The document tabled in Geneva suggests that the UN Security Council refer the charges to the International Court of Justice if Israel and Hamas do not conduct investigations to determine who is responsible for the crimes committed during the war.

In the meantime, Abbas’ indecision has already had an impact on the process of national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

The agreement the two Palestinian factions were supposed to sign in Cairo on 25 October had already been postponed by Hamas because of the PNA’s decision to postpone the vote on the Goldstone Report.

However, Fatah Executive Committee General Secretary Yasser Abed Rabo accused Hamas of using the UN report to avoid talks.

See also

Israel rejects UN report that accuses it of war crimes in Gaza
The resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights condemns Israel for its policy of violence in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority praises the vote. Hamas appreciates the fight against "the Zionist criminals," but does not comment on the allegations concerning itself. United States and Italy among the dissenting votes.

Israel and Hamas war crimes before the UN general assembly
Great support for a resolution from Arab and non-aligned countries. Demand for independent investigations within three months on the crimes committed during Operation “Cast Lead” and discussion of the report before the Security Council. The vote by today.

06/11/2009 PALESTINE
Mahmoud Abbas not to seek reelection
The 74-year-old Fatah leader announces on live TV that he will not run, accuses Hamas of undermining internal Palestinian unity and US of “favouring Israel”. Defeat over settlements and his ambiguous position on Goldstone report weakened his standing among Palestinians.

United Nations votes for truce but bombs and rockets continue in Gaza
Fourteen of the council's 15 members vote in favour of a Security Council resolution. United States abstains. Text calls for a ceasefire, free passage for humanitarian aid, and an Israeli pullout. It also condemns all acts of terrorism and violence against civilians and calls for greater monitoring of arms and ammunition smuggling into the Strip. The number of dead is growing among Palestinians (750) and Israelis (16). UNRWA stops relief operations after one of its drivers is killed. The International Red Cross accuses Israel of not helping the wounded.

The UN demand an investigation into Israel and Hamas war crimes
A large majority voted for the resolution based on the Goldstone report. The United States votes against it. Among European countries, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic voted with Israel and the U.S., Britain and France abstained. In three months the launch of independent investigations.

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