The Acting Palestinian Authority chief says he will push for a vote on a recently released UN report about Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud Abbas had earlier requested the UN Human Rights Council to defer the vote, a decision that was strongly condemned by Palestinian factions and human rights groups.
The PA decision to back the deferment of the vote had also triggered angry street protests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which had left Abbas facing the most serious political challenge of his career.
“I instructed our ambassador [to the UN in Geneva] to call for another extraordinary meeting of the Human Rights Council in order to vote on the report, seeking to punish all who committed the most grotesque crimes against women and children in Gaza,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Abbas as saying in a televised speech late on Sunday, addressing the controversy publicly for the first time.
Facing an unprecedented wave of condemnation and accusations of treason from Palestinian factions including his own party, Abbas had said he ordered the establishment of a commission of inquiry into finding those responsible for dropping a UN resolution against Israel.
The measure killed the Palestinians hope to pass a resolution against Israel in the UN Human Rights Council.
An unnamed PA minister earlier scoffed at Abbas’ decision to establish the commission, according to the Jerusalem Post .
“What’s the president [Abbas] trying to tell us? that he didn’t make the decision to kill the resolution that would have seen the UN endorse the findings of the fact-finding commission into the Gaza war?” the minister asked.
Abbas however defended his earlier backing of a deferment, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The decision to postpone the vote was a result of a consensus among the different parties at the Human Rights Council…and in order to secure the largest number of supporters for any resolution in the future,” he said.
A United Nations inquiry, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, detailed what investigators called Israeli actions “amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity,” during Israel’s winter offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza.