Abbas Orders Probe Into Goldstone Delay Request

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered a panel to investigate what led the PA to request the United Nations Human Right Council postpone discussion of the Goldstone report.

Palestinians are furious at the president, who is seen to have issued the instruction to the diplomatic delegation following his meeting Thursday with the United States consul-general.

Abbas - who has been abroad since Friday - his spokespeople, and his aides have cagily denied the claim.

The decision to establish a commission of inquiry was made during a telephone call between Abbas and Yasser Abed Rabbo, who serves as secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee. Abbas said he also consulted on the matter with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Members at a specially convened Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday agreed that the ruling party's recommendation to establish a committee of inquiry must be adopted.

The announcement failed to satisfy the various factions who comprise the PLO as well as Palestinian human rights organizations.

These groups say the decision to form a commission of inquiry should be made at an official meeting of the Executive Committee and not just by Abbas.

Palestinian groups say the Executive Committee needs to determine the committee's investigative powers as well as its functions.

The committee should be headed by an independent judge and it cannot include a member of the Executive Committee, they say.

Abdel-Aziz Dweik, a Hamas member who heads the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that forming a commission of inquiry is one way for Abbas to evade his responsibility for the controversy.