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Richard Falk on Palestine and Goldstone report

08/10/2009

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Palestinian President Abbas Faces Uproar for Aiding US-Israeli Derailment of UN Report on Gaza Assault

Palestinian outrage continues over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to back the postponement of a Human Rights Council vote on the Goldstone investigation into Israel’s assault on Gaza. The move reportedly came after heavy American and Israeli pressure. We speak with Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi.

The Security Council has rejected Libya’s request to hold an emergency session on South African Judge Richard Goldstone’s recently released report on Israel’s 3-week war on Gaza last winter. Instead the Council has agreed to advance a regular meeting to address the issues it raises.

The 575-page report by the United Nations fact-finding mission accuses Israel of war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza. It also accuses Hamas of indiscriminate rocket fire. The report urges the the UN Security Council to refer allegations to the International Criminal Court if either side fails to investigate and prosecute suspects. Some 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the war on Gaza.

Meanwhile outrage among Palestinians continues to rise over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to withdraw support for further action in regard to the Goldstone investigation. Last week Abbas backed the postponement of a vote by the Human Rights Council to send the report to the Security Council for possible action. The decision reportedly came after heavy American and Israeli pressure.

After 6 days of protests a senior Abbas adviser told the Voice of Palestine radio Wednesday: “What happened is a mistake, but (it) can be repaired.”

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of several books, including Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East and The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood.

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