PA: Advance Peace Talks or We'll Take Goldstone Report to Court

U.S. pressured PA into withdrawing its initial motion to bring report before UN Security Council.

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If Israel does not soften its positions on the peace process, the Palestinian Authority will resume pushing to get the Goldstone report moved to the Security Council, and thence to the International Criminal Court, an associate of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Haaretz Tuesday.

The Goldstone report, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last week, accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes during their January war in Gaza. The PA initially proposed that the HRC pass the report onto the Security Council, which has the power to ask the International Criminal Court to open a criminal case, but then withdrew its motion under pressure from the United States, which feared that such a move would derail Washington's drive to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Abbas' decision to comply with U.S. pressure and withdraw the motion sparked a storm of criticism against him from within the PA, as well as from Gaza and even Israeli Arabs, and since then, he has been busy with damage control.

Abbas' associate said that not only the U.S., but also Britain and China vehemently opposed the PA's original motion. And since all three have veto power in the Security Council, referral to the Security Council would have accomplished nothing except to antagonize three major powers, he explained.

Several Arab states also urged Abbas to withdraw the motion, after they too, came under pressure from Washington, he said.

Erekat threatens to name names

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told the French media Tuesday that Abbas is now considering asking Arab states to raise the Goldstone report in the Security Council themselves. Erekat also threatened to reveal the names of all the countries that pressured Abbas to pull the motion and instead negotiate with Israel without preconditions.

The growing criticism of Abbas' decision is apparently what prompted him to publicly demand Tuesday that Arab states fight what he termed an Israeli takeover of Jerusalem, even though privately the PA is worried by the possibility of a conflagration in the city: It was an effort to divert attention from the Goldstone issue.

However, it did not stop Nabil Amr, a leading member of Abbas' Fatah movement who has long been one of his outspoken critics, from resigning as the PA's ambassador to Egypt Tuesday to protest Abbas' decision on the Goldstone report.

Moreover, the Israeli Arab party Balad announced a rally in Acre on Saturday at which it plans to demand that Abbas resign over the decision, which it termed "a political crime." This is very unusual, as Israeli Arab parties generally refrain from coming out openly against the PA leadership.

"Someone who ignores the occupier's crimes and even tries to whitewash them cannot be the legitimate representative of his people," Balad said in a statement.

Hadash, another Israeli Arab party, also slammed Abbas' move Tuesday.