PA: Goldstone Report 'alive' despite delay

PA Goldstone report re

Palestinian Authority diplomats said Friday they will ensure the United Nations' Goldstone Commission report Operation Cast Lead "remains alive," despite agreeing to delay a vote in the UN Human Rights Council on passing the document to the General Assembly for further action. Palestinian Authority deputy ambassador to the UN in Gevena, Imad Zuhairi, said Friday that the deferral was a result of his government's desire to build broad international support for action next year. "This is not a victory for Israel," Zuhairi told The Associated Press. "The report is there and we will ensure that the report remains alive." Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal criticized the call for delaying the vote, saying Palestinian Authority officials should not be silent about "Israel's crimes." He added that Hamas has some reservations on the report but did not elaborate. "This is shameful," Mashaal said in a speech in the Syrian capital Friday night. "We will curse anyone who neglect the blood of the Palestinian people." On Thursday, The PLO ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, told The Jerusalem Post he was interested in a compromise text because it was important that the report, which condemned Israel's military actions in Gaza last January, received the widest range of support possible. "It will help us to explain to the Israelis that the international community is with the Palestinians to achieve their hopes and their dreams," said Khraishi. When the hour grew late and no compromise was in sight, he said, "we decided to defer the matter" to the council's next session in March. "I hope the parties will study the report deeply, and try to find a way to proceed," he said. Israel's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, credited both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with the Palestinians' decision to withdraw the resolution they had authored. "What happened today is proof that their strategy of not cooperating" with the four-person fact-finding mission led by South Africa jurist Richard Goldstone "was correct... Israel insisted from the beginning that this was about politics against the State of Israel and not human rights. It emphasized the primacy of the peace process. It is a precedent for all states fighting terror," said Leshno-Yaar on Thursday. He added that "it shows above all that the priority of the international community is to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to relaunch negotiations." Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report