Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas faced growing outrage at home Sunday over what reports said was his decision to withdraw support for a U.N. report that alleged Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in the recent Gaza war. While some Palestinian sources said Abbas' reversal came as a result of intense U.S. pressure, the Palestinian leader himself called for a probe on the issue.
His spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeina denied the claims over the week-end, saying the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has not withdrawn a draft resolution concerning the Goldston report before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. According to him, the postponement of adopting a resolution on the report was upon a demand from the U.S.A, Russia and Europe.
The report by justice Richard Goldstone will now lie dormant for at least six months rather than be sent to the U.N. General Assembly with possible recommendations for action.
Leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization met late Saturday and demanded explanations. Planning Minister Ali Jarbawi said he would seek an explanation at a Cabinet meeting on Monday. "We want to know exactly what happened. The government decided to go ahead with Goldstone report until the end, but someone made a mistake," he said, according to the AP. "There was a wrong decision, and this is terribly bad."
Abbas' spokesman said on Sunday the Palestinian economics minister, Bassem Khouri, had resigned.
In the Gaza Strip, demonstrators and human rights groups voiced their condemnation Saturday. Mohamed Nazzal, a member of Hamas political bureau, strongly denounced the suspending, describing it as defeatist and immoral. Nazzal dismissed the PNA denial, saying the Palestinian envoy to the UN Ibrahim Khreisheh admitted that the PA had requested an adjournment.