Abbas associate: We erred by deferring action on Goldstone


A member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's inner circle said Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership had erred by suspending action on the Goldstone Report, which alleged that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter. The comments came as the first such acknowledgment after days of angry protests in the West Bank and Gaza. Last week, Abbas apparently gave in to US pressure and agreed to suspend the push for war crimes tribunals. Abbas aides defended the decision by saying they were only delaying, not dropping action. However, on Wednesday, senior Abbas adviser Yasser Abed Rabbo said that "we have the courage to admit there was a mistake." The Palestinians are now seeking to have the UN Security Council consider the Gaza report. Members of the UN Security Council said members were set to meet Wednesday, to discuss Libya's request for an emergency session on a report that claimed Israel and Palestinian gunmen committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the conflict in Gaza that began late last year. Vietnam's ambassador Le Luong Minh, who holds the council presidency this month, told The Associated Press he set closed-door talks after receiving a request from Libya, the only Arab member on the 15-nation council. The Palestinian Authority UN Mission issued a press release saying it affirmed "full support for the Libyan request" for an emergency meeting on a report about Operation Cast Lead, written by legal experts chaired by eminent South African jurist Richard Goldstone. The Libyan move and Palestinian support surprised some council members because less than a week ago - on October 1 - the UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report, delayed a vote on a resolution to refer the report to the UN General Assembly at the Palestinians request. The vote would have moved the issue one step closer to possible prosecutions, but it was delayed at least until March.