| 06.10,09. 11:47 PM |
Palestinians to ask UN to pass Gaza war report
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was on Tuesday "seriously studying" the possibility of asking that a United Nations Gaza war report be passed on to the Security Council, a senior Palestinian official said as he accused Tel Aviv of deliberately creating tension in East Jerusalem to tighten its grip on the disputed city.
"President Abbas is seriously studying the possibility of asking the Arab and Islamic bloc to officially take the Goldstone report to international bodies, including the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP in a phone call from Amman.
Erakat said Abbas's decision came "in light of the controversy that has arisen" around the report, which accused Israel and Palestinian armed groups of committing war crimes during the three-week land, air and sea assault on Gaza that Israel started on Dec. 27.
"We want to discuss the report in international bodies so they will take decisions on what emerged in the report, in order to insure that the crimes committed by Israel against our people are never repeated," he said.
On Friday, the Palestinian delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva dropped its support for the report, paving the way for Arab and Islamic states who had supported it to vote to delay its discussion for six months.
The move was widely seen as a response to intense pressure from the United States and Israel, which warned that the 49-member council's adoption of the report could torpedo efforts to relaunch Middle East peace talks.
The Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza has led a chorus of criticism of the move, accusing Abbas of betraying the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's.
" Israel is lighting matches in the hope of sparking a fire, deliberately escalating tensions in occupied East Jerusalem rather than taking steps to placate the situation "
Erakat Meanwhile Erakat also accused Israel of deliberately creating "an extremely dangerous situation" in East Jerusalem, to trigger violence, justify a crackdown and tighten its grip on the disputed city.
Palestinian leaders have issued a series of dire warnings in the past week after clashes at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City between Israeli police and protesters, over alleged attempts by Jewish religious activists to enter the site.
The compound housing the mosque is a holy place for both Muslims and Jews, and has often been a flashpoint of tension. Israel security forces control access to the area and regularly use their power to keep young Muslim men out.
The Israeli government has said little about the incidents. Police have issued statements detailing violence, actions taken, injuries and arrests -- which have been limited by local standards. Much of the Israeli government was on holiday this week for a religious festival.
Palestinian sources say they fear that "small brushfires" may quickly spiral out of control as they have done in the past, if the Israelis maintain a "heavy-handed" response instead of making an effort to de-escalate tensions.
Erakat said the current situation was "all the more dangerous" because of the "vacuum created by the absence of a credible peace process that offers hope".
Obama's peace envoy George Mitchell is due back in Jerusalem this week to continue efforts to revive stalled peace talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.