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Leaked document shows Palestinian Authority stonewalled Goldstone vote

ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires | 1/27/2011 12:00:00 AM |

The Palestinian Authority, with US encouragement, delayed a UN vote on the Goldstone Report about war crimes committed during Israel's Gaza war, according to new documents revealed by Al-Jazeera.

The Palestinian Authority, with U.S. encouragement, delayed a U.N. vote on the Goldstone Report into war crimes committed during Israel's Gaza war, according to new documents revealed by Al-Jazeera.

On Oct. 2, 2009, the U.N. Human Rights Council was widely expected to pass a resolution supporting the Goldstone Report, the U.N.’s investigation into war crimes committed during Israel’s war in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.

The council instead agreed to delay a vote on the report until March 2010, following major reservations expressed by the Palestinian Authority, the United States and Israel.

A U.N. endorsement of the report would have brought Israeli officials one step closer to prosecution before a war crimes tribunal, an event many Palestinians were anxious to see.

But, as the documents, known as the “Palestine Papers,” reveal, the Palestinian Authority apparently sacrificed a potential victory for Palestinian victims in exchange for favorable assurances on negotiations from the United States and, they hoped, from Israel, Qatar-based news network Al-Jazeera reported.

The Goldstone Report, formally known as the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, was released in mid-September 2009 amid calls for a review of Israel’s wartime practices. The probe was led by Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge; it identified war crimes committed overwhelmingly by Israeli forces, but also by Hamas, during Israel’s war on Gaza.

What the Palestine Papers demonstrate is that, in the weeks preceding the vote, the United States apparently urged the Palestinian Authority to stall the report as a means of restarting negotiations with Israel.

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