Palestinian Authority criticized for supporting UN rights council delay on Gaza resolution

[JURIST] Hamas leaders on Monday condemned the Palestinian Authority (PA) for supporting Friday's decision by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] to delay [press release] a vote on resolution [text] adopting the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Commission on the Gaza Conflict [official website]. The postponed resolution would have also condemned Israel for its refusal [JURIST report] to assist in the investigation, which determined [text, PDF; JURIST report] that Israeli and Palestinian forces had likely committed war crimes during last winter's fighting in the Gaza strip. Hamas leaders accused [Haaretz report] PA President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] of committing treason by supporting the delayed vote and said they no longer consider him Palestinian. Hundreds of protesters gathered [Al Jazeera report] in the West Bank city of Ramallah to show their outrage for what they saw as betrayal by Abbas. Syria, also upset with the PA's decision, canceled [Jerusalem Post report] a planned visit by Abbas. Some members of the UNHRC, including the US, had asked the PA to support delaying the vote. The UNHRC will vote on the proposal in March. It is not clear whether Monday's response by Hamas will effect a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party announced [AFP report] in Jordan Monday and set to be signed October 26.

Last week an Israeli newspaper reported that Israel conditioned [JURIST] a proposed mobile phone network in the West Bank on the PA dropping its request that the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for war crimes during Operation Cast Lead [Global Security backgrounder]. The UN commission began its field operations in Gaza in June, entering Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing after Israel announced that it would not cooperate with the investigation because it doubted the mission's objectivity, and concluded hearings [JURIST reports] in July. The probe followed a previous report [text, PDF; JURIST report], authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, which criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US criticized [DOS briefing] the report, calling the rapporteur's views "anything but fair." In April, an internal Israeli military investigation found that war crimes had not been committed [JURIST report] in the offensive despite individual reports by Israeli soldiers [Haaretz report].

 

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