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UN chief backs call to reopen HRC debate on Gaza report

Oct. 13, 2009 11:00 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 14, 2009 10:49 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon supports a new Palestinian proposal to reopen debate on the Golstone report on the Gaza war in the Human Rights Council.

Ban’s spokesperson, Michele Montas, said the UN chief discussed the issue during a telephone conversation with President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, according to the news agency AFP.

The Goldstone report was the result of a UN fact-finding mission by South African former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone; it accuses both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of committing war crimes during Israel’s offensive against Gaza last winter.

In early October the Palestinian Authority leadership reportedly buckled to US pressure and withdrew a resolution from the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva to refer the report for further action.

Palestinian public outage at the deferral caused Abbas to reverse course, demanding a new meeting of both the HRC and the Security Council.

According to AFP, Montas said that during Sunday's telephone call with Abbas, the UN secretary general "expressed his support for President Abbas' engagement with member states on a proper process for the consideration of the Goldstone report."

She explained that this meant Ban favors a re-examination of the HRC's decision to postpone the vote on the report until next March, AFP reported.

In Geneva, Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraisheh confirmed to AFP that he requested an emergency HRC meeting, which he said could take place Thursday or Friday. The official justified the reversal by citing "Israeli aggression in Jerusalem."
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