In the wake of harsh criticism leveled at the Palestinian Authority over its decision to support delaying a vote in the UN Human Rights Council on passing the Goldstone Report to the General Assembly for further action, President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the establishment of an inquiry committee to examine the affair.
The UN investigation, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, concluded in a 575-page report that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during their Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict in Gaza.
The 47-nation rights council had been expected to pass a resolution last week that could have brought Israeli officials one step closer to prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It decided instead to delay a decision until March, after what officials described as "intense diplomacy" from the United States.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, said that following deliberations with top PA officials, Abbas decided to set up a committee tasked with determining who was behind the decision to support the deferral of the UN vote.
According to another PA official, the Palestinians pulled their support for the report's endorsement by the Human Rights Council following talks with the US and Israel. He said the fact that Israel's envoy to the UN in Geneva made the agreement public "complicated matters" for the Authority and made it appear as though it were cooperating with Israel "at the expense of those who were killed in Gaza."
Over the weekend Hamas called the PA's decision "a serious crime against our people, a betrayal of the blood of our martyrs and collaboration with the Zionist enemy."
AP contributed to the report