The Palestinian Authority was involved in efforts to stonewall the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, in exchange for US assurances, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.
The Qatari TV network based its report on leaked papers documenting years of negotiations between the PA and Israel.
According to the documents, the UN Human Rights Council was scheduled to vote on the Goldstone Report on October 2, 2009, but the PA took part in efforts to delay the vote. The council was expected approve the report on that day, but agreed to push the date to March 2010 due to pressure from the PA, Israel and the US. The Human Rights Council's support was required at that time to try senior Israeli officials for war crimes.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas admitted at the end of 2009 that the PA did, in fact, rally for the delay, but claimed it was done in order to gather wider support for the report. However, Al Jazeera reported that the documents show that in the weeks leading up to the original date, the US pressured the PA to block the report in order to renew negotiations with Israel.
According to Al Jazeera, on the original day of the vote the Americans made an attractive proposal to the Palestinians. Some time later, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat approached US Special Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell to return the favor.
Al Jazeera claimed that the documents prove that the PA sacrificed a possible achievement for the Palestinians in Gaza - a trial of IDF officers and Israeli diplomats – in exchange for significant guarantees from the US, and hopefully also from Israel.
Jones thanks Erekat
Al Jazeera reported that on the day the vote was postponed, the US presented the Palestinians with a proposal whereby the PA will pledge to promote a positive atmosphere which will help the peace talks and avoid the promotion of direct or direct initiatives in legal forums which will hurt this atmosphere.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat allegedly told Mitchell: "In coming to the UN, we shall always cooperate with you." Some time after this Erekat asked Mitchell for the reward.
It was also reported that on October 2009, US National Security Advisor Jim Jones thanked Erekat and praised the Palestinians for their boldness.
The documents released Wednesday also reveal the extent of the hostility between the PA and Iran. According to the papers, Abbas tried to convince a businessman to donate millions of dollars to a radio station affiliated with the Iranian opposition following the post-election riots. Erekat told Mitchell of this as proof of the PA's support of the US's strategic goals in the region.
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