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Abbas Aide: We Erred Over Gaza Report

By VOA News
07 October 2009

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian leadership erred by suspending action on a U.N. report that criticizes Israel's offensive in Gaza.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior advisor to Mr. Abbas, said Wednesday that the decision to defer until March a vote by the U.N. Human Rights Council on the report was "a mistake."

It was the first such comment by a Palestinian official after days of angry protests in the West Bank and Gaza.

The report accuses Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Israel's offensive in Gaza early this year. Former South African judge Richard Goldstone prepared the document for the U.N.

Libya has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the document.

Diplomats say the council will hold closed-door consultations Wednesday to decide whether to accept the Libyan request for formal debate on the issue.

The militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, claimed Sunday the Palestinian Authority bowed to U.S. and Israeli pressure to delay the vote.

Israeli officials call the report one-sided. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner has said the United States strongly disagrees with many of the report's recommendations, calling the document "deeply flawed."

Goldstone's report said Israel failed to take precautions required by international law to avoid or minimize loss of civilian life. He also said there was no doubt Palestinian militants fired rockets and mortars into Israel with the goal of harming civilians.

Fighting in Gaza killed some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Israel says its offensive was intended to stop Hamas militants from firing rockets into Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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