PA 'Won't Oppose War Crimes Trials for Hamas Militants'

Goldstone slams UN body for ignoring Hamas war crimes after council endorses his report on Gaza offensive.

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The Palestinian Authority would not oppose the prosecution of Hamas militants on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court, Israel Radio on Saturday quoted the PA's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva as saying.

Ibrahim Khraishi reportedly made the comments after the UN Human Rights Council's voted in favor of his motion to endorse a report accusing both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes during the December-January hostilities in Gaza.

Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, Khraishi said he had no problem in saying that legal proceedings against Israel over alleged human rights abuses should also be instigated against Palestinians. But he was quoted as adding that occupiers must not be confused with the occupied.The envoy's remarks came in the wake of scathing Hamas criticism of the PA for initially withdrawing Palestinian support for a vote in the council to have the report sent to the UN General Assembly for possible action.

Fatah, the Palestinian movement that runs the PA, has been a bitter rival of Hamas ever since the Islamist group seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody 2007 coup.

Khraishi further said that Israeli soldiers who killed children or prevented Palestinians from receiving medical treatment should be tried at the court, in The Hague, Israel Radio reported.

Goldstone slams UN council for ignoring Hamas war crimes

South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who headed the United Nations investigation over the Gaza offensive, criticized on Friday the Human Rights Council's decision to endorse the report his commission had compiled.

Goldstone told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps before the vote that the wording of the resolution was unfortunate because it included only censure of Israel. He voiced hope that the Human Rights Council would alter the wording of the draft.

In a special session Friday, 25 of the Human Rights Council's members voted in favor of the resolution that chastised Israel for failing to cooperate with the UN mission led by Goldstone. Another six voted against and 11 abstained.

The resolution agreed to in Geneva calls for the UN General Assembly to consider the Goldstone report and for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report back to the Human Rights Council on Israel's adherence to it.

The report calls for the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court in the Hague if the Israelis or Palestinians fail to investigate the alleged abuses perpetrated.

The countries that voted against the report included the U.S., Italy, Holland, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine.

China, Russia, Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, South Africa, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Djibouti, Liberia, Qatar, Senegal, Brazil, Mauritius, Nicaragua and Nigeria voted in favor of the report.

The abstaining countries included Bosnia, Burkina-Faso, Cameron, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Belgium, South Korea, Slovenia and Uruguay. Madagascar and Kyrgyzstan were not present during the vote.

"This resolution goes far beyond even the initial scope of the Goldstone report into a discussion of elements that should be resolved in the context of permanent status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," U.S. envoy to the UN Douglas Griffiths said, when explaining why his country was voting against the document.

The U.S. has said the report was unfair toward Israel, something Goldstone repeatedly denied, noting he investigated all sides of the conflict.

France called on Friday to delay the UN Human Rights Council vote in Geneva regarding the adoption of the Goldstone Gaza report by half an hour in a last-minute attempt to lobby allies to reject the report's findings.

The French delegates joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent diplomatic attempts to lobby European counterparts, including Holland, Spain and Denmark, to back Israel's rejection of the report's findings.