The Israeli effort to ward off the Goldstone Report is moving to the United Nations Security Council in New York, following the Human Rights Council's decision to adopt the report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
"Israel may have lost this battle, but not the war," a senior state official said Friday. "Although Israel knew it could not win this battle, it launched a war and we are expected to launch additional wars with other countries exposed to terror in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The Foreign Ministry rejected the "one-sided" UN Human Rights Council's decision to endorse the Goldstone Report on the December-January war in Gaza, saying it "encourages terror groups around the world and hinders global peace."
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "We are encouraged by those countries that voted against the report or abstained. Israel will not be given a lesson in morality by those countries that backed the decision."
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that the UN vote was "an anti-Israel decision joining an anti-Israel report. The IDF handled innocent people with velvet gloves. The Council's decision is diplomatic anarchy."
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said, "The UN has once again proved that the automatic majority of Arab countries in its institutions allows them to pass any distorted resolution. Any connection between this decision and reality is incidental. It's a shame the UN is making itself irrelevant."
Abbas: World supports Palestinians' rights
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas welcomed the decision to send the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council, saying they hoped it would eventually lead "to the appointment of an organization which will discuss Israel's war crimes."
Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said that the Palestinian president had expressed his hope that the decision "will become leverage for protecting the Palestinians against Israel."
He said Abbas welcomed the vote, saying it proved that the world supports the Palestinians' rights.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who is a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the PA welcomed the move. "We hope this will not only be a decision, but will lead to a creation of a body in the UN Security Council which will discuss the Israeli war crimes."
The Hamas government in Gaza rushed to welcome the decision as well, thanking the countries "which supported it and helped expose Israel's crimes and its acts of massacre against the Palestinians."
The Hamas government noted that the vote was a victory to the Palestinians' rights, and expressed its hope that the report would constitute a first step ahead of the prosecution of "the Israeli war criminals."
Palestinian reconciliation following report?
The PA hopes that the vote would divert the criticism directed at Abbas following the Palestinians' request to defer the UN vote. Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, who is a member of the movement's Central Committee, said he hoped the UN endorsement would lead to a Palestinian reconciliation.
"It's time for Hamas to realize that their conduct over the report could turn into a double-edged sword, and they must return to the reconciliation table," he said. "We are willing to forgive them for everything they've done, if the price is national reconciliation and unity."
But Hamas hardliner Mahmoud al-Zahar said that the Goldstone Report had nothing to do with the reconciliation.
"We haven't given up on our call to prosecute Abu Mazen (Abbas) in Palestinian courts" over the Palestinian president's demand to pull the proposal for a Human Rights Council discussion two weeks ago, he said. Hamas is preparing to appoint a legal committee to discuss the possibility of prosecuting Abbas.
The Goldstone Report has complicated the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas. Egypt has decided to accept the request of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations to delay the signing of the reconciliation agreement between the rival factions, which was planned for October 26.
An official Egyptian source announced that Cairo was trying to bridge the gaps between the parties following the crisis created by the PA's decision to defer the UN vote on the Goldstone Report. Egyptian officials have said that the efforts would continue and that the signing ceremony would be postponed by several days or two weeks at the most.
Ali Waked and Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report