Gaza war report was stalled by Palestinian Authority on US request
Added under Palestine/Israel
Palestinian Authority leaders co-operated with US officials in a bid to postpone the reference of the Goldstone report into war crimes in Gaza to the UN security council, leaked papers reveal. The PA, who have denied they made the decision under US pressure, later reversed their decision.
The postponement of the report into Israel's 2008 assault on Gaza triggered heavy criticism of the PA leadership, at one time threatening Abbas's position. But at a meeting on 21 October 2009, three weeks after the Goldstone scandal erupted, US national security adviser Jim Jones told the Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: "Thank you for what you did a couple of weeks ago [on Goldstone]; it was very courageous".
On the day the reference of the report was delayed, US officials presented Palestinian negotiators with a "non paper" [a proposal that is off the record in diplomatic terms] committing the PA to "help promote a positive atmosphere conducive to negotiations ... [and] refrain from pursuing or supporting any initiative directly or indirectly in international legal forums that would undermine that atmosphere".
Erekat's response was to tell Mitchell: "On going to the UN we will always co-ordinate with you."
The papers also reveal new evidence of contact between Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, the Palestinian president, and Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense ministry official and senior negotiator, before the the launch of Israel's assault in late 2008. It remains unclear whether he had advance warning of the impending assault, which he has always denied.
Sources: Guardian (UK)
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