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U.N. Debates Goldstone Report

And Fatah says government will fall if report isn’t approved

by
Allison Hoffman
October 15, 2009

The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council is meeting today to debate whether to adopt the conclusions of last month’s controversial Goldstone report on the Gaza war—including its proposal to refer allegations of war crimes on the part of both the Israelis and Hamas to the International Criminal Court. But what started out as a referendum on Israel is increasingly looking like a test of how far the international community is prepared to go to protect the Fatah-led Palestinian government.

Originally, the Palestinians—under pressure from the Americans—indicated they were prepared to drop the report altogether in the interest of restarting peace negotiations. But after petitions started circulating calling for president Mahmoud Abbas to step down over the episode, Fatah is reportedly telling other countries that their government will fall if they can’t get the report adopted in Geneva and prove they can score political points against Israel on the international stage. The Israelis, of course, aren’t going to risk a compromise on the report to give cover to a Palestinian executive that so far has been willing to negotiate in good faith: Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, said Israel will interpret any action by the council as “Israel bashing.”

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.

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