Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied on Friday reports that the Palestinian Authority has decided to withdraw its bid to adopt the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.
Thursday night Israeli Ambassador o the UN in Geneva Aharon Leshno Yaar said his Palestinian counterparty told the UN body in Geneva that the Palestinian Authority plans to announced it's withdrawal at the Human Rights Council's vote on Friday.
Erekat said there is no truth to the report. "We are not members of the Human Rights Council. We are there as observers. The council of Islamic states is working in order to have to body adopt the report. The decision stands, and this report is untrue. There has been no change in our position."
A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that the Palestinian decision came after "intense diplomacy" by Washington to convince the Palestinian leadership that going ahead with the resolution would harm the Middle East peace process.
"The Palestinians recognized that this was not the best time to go forward with this," the US official said.
The Israeli ambassador said Thursday that the Palestinians decided to withdraw the bid "is proof of the right strategy taken by the Israeli government and Foreign Ministry, by warning that adopting the repot could harm the peace process."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli ministers had previously said adopting the report would also hurt the democratic regime's war on terror.
Leshno Yaar told Ynet that Netanyahu's remarks contributed to the PA's decision, as have Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's diplomatic efforts to "undermine this political report."
Richard J. Goldstone, the South African judge who led the inquiry into Operation Cast Lead rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that the report would compromise the Middle East peace process.
"I think he got wrong what our report is all about. He talked about Israel's right to self-defense. That is not what the report was about," Goldstone told reporters in Washington Thursday.