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Terrorism & Security

Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war

The US reportedly convinced the Palestinian Authority to withdraw its backing in order to advance the peace process. Israel had said the Goldstone report would severely damage peace talks.

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The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Goldstone report, issued on Sept. 15, found "strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity" by both the Israel Defense Force and Hamas's fighters during the fighting in December and January, which left some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. At least several hundred of the Palestinians killed were civilians, but human rights groups and the Israeli army disagree over the exact numbers.

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Reuters writes that Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said that the PA still intended to return to the issue at UN Human Rights Council in March, but that its deferral of endorsement would further the peace process.

The Council had been due to vote on Friday on a resolution that would have condemned Israel's failure to cooperate with a U.N. war crimes investigation led by Richard Goldstone, and forwarded his report to the Security Council.
But Pakistan, speaking for Arab, Islamic, and African sponsors of a resolution, formally asked the forum to defer action on their text until the next regular session in March.
This would "give more time for a broad-based and comprehensive consideration" of the report, Pakistan's envoy Zamir Akram told the 47-member-state forum.

The Associated Press writes that the Goldstone report has put Israel on the back foot, as it may encourage war-crime prosecutions of Israeli officials abroad. This week, British activists pushed for the arrest of visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"The (Goldstone) report clearly says those war crimes should be properly investigated, and that if Israel fails to investigate, that other courts could," said Tayab Ali, one of the lawyers representing 16 Palestinian families in the Barak case in London.
"How much higher do you need to go than the United Nations to establish that war crimes occurred?"

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