Libya war report request denied

UN Security Council rejects Libyan demand for emergency talks on Goldstone report.

    Gaza residents put up posters denouncing Abbas for blocking action against Israel [AFP]

    The Security Council met at the behest of Libyan diplomats, who requested an emergency session to discuss its findings.

    The report authored by Richard Goldstone highlights a disproportionate use of force by Israel and its deliberately harming of civilians during its Gaza offensive. It also alleges that Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately at civilians in southern Israel.

    Anger at Abbas

    The council's move comes amid public anger among Palestinians over the support from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and head of Fatah, that action be suspended in regard to the Goldstone investigation.

    In video

    Richard Falk on Palestinian leadership's backing for deferment of UN vote on Goldstone report

    Hundreds of posters appeared in public areas around Gaza City on Wednesday criticising Abbas.

    Abbas is accused of backing the postponement of a UN Human Rights Council vote in Geneva last Friday that would have condemned Israel's failure to co-operate with a UN investigation into the December-January war.

    Such a vote would have been one of many steps to bring Israel before a war crimes tribunal, something many Palestinians want to see.

    Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, said: "There's no doubt the public outrage over the decision by the PA to withdraw support for the Goldstone report continues several days after that decision.

    "We saw today some of the more powerful images of the people here in Gaza turning against the Palestinian Authority president."

    He said a rally was held and that dozens of people - mostly intellectuals as well as university students, some of whom were relatives of the victims of the Gaza war – attended.

    "During the course of that rally, we heard some very strong condemnation of the PA president," he said.

    'Offensive gesture'

    "We saw a very offensive public gesture. Many of them had taken off their shoes and slapped the posters of the Palestinian president."

    In depth

      Video: Anger at Abbas
      Video interview: Richard Goldstone
      Timeline: Gaza War
      Analysis: War crimes in Gaza?
      Goldstone's full report to the UN rights council
      Key points of the Goldstone report
      UN inquiry finds Gaza war crimes
      'Half of Gaza war dead civilians'
      PLO: History of a Revolution
      Gaza we are coming

    Israel launched a major offensive on the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip in December 2008, saying it wanted to stop rockets fired by Hamas into its territory.

    At least 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died during the three-week war.

    Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, told Al Jazeera it was possible Libya might try to put a draft resolution forward "but I think there is no chance of any consequential action being taken by the security council".

    Still, Ahmed Gebreel, a Libyan government spokesman, said his country had requested the emergency meeting at the UN "because of the seriousness of the report and because we think it's too long to wait until March [to discuss it]".

    Hamas and Abbas both backed the Libyan move, with Abbas even sending a delegate to add weight to the Libyan request.

    Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abbas's senior adviser, told the Voice of Palestine radio that backing the postponement of the UN human rights council vote was "a mistake".

    "We have the courage to admit there was a mistake," he said, but added that the situation "can be repaired".

    Palestinians, including members of Fatah, Abbas's party, have strongly criticised the Goldstone vote postponement, holding him responsible for the decision.

    Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that the controversy surrounding the Goldstone report could affect the Palestinian reconciliation deal which Egypt has said will be signed later this month.

    "All the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, are angry at the [Palestinian] Authority after what happened with the Goldstone report and this could affect the arrangements for the [reconciliation] dialogue," he said on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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