The acting Palestinian authority chief defends his decision for the deferment of a vote on a UN report condemning the bloody Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip.
Quoted by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, Mahmoud Abbas said he had issued the order out of ‘practical reasons.’
The UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) on Friday endorsed the report which held the Israeli army responsible for deliberately killing Palestinian civilians and committing other war crimes during their last winter offensive on the Gaza Strip. The attacks left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead and thousands of others injured.
The PA chief had asked for the vote to be delayed until March 2010, prompting widespread condemnation by many, including the rival group Hamas, which accused him of "great treason against the blood of the war’s victims."
Abbas was further alleged to have withdrawn his support for the vote in exchange for ‘financial favors from Israel,’ the agency added.
"I gave directives to [PLO Ambassador] Ibrahim Khreisha to find a way to re-submit the Goldstone report and, a week later, he did. The report was discussed, and was approved. Where’s the treason they accuse us of?" he said.
"It was necessary to find a compromise. We found that it would be better to defer discussion of the report."
He charged that his rivals were using the issue to score political points.
A survey, meanwhile, by the Al-Quds Media and Communications Centre said that, as a result of the decision, the Palestinian official’s popularity rating has dropped.
The poll showed that only 12.1 percent of the residents in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank supported Abbas, compared to 14.2 percent who were in favor of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.