Jerusalem: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is pushing for a vote on a United Nation's report that accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the Gaza war, reversing a decision that has left him at the lowest point of his presidency.
Yesterday, Washington's special Middle East envoy wrapped up his latest round of shuttle diplomacy in the region, again having failed to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.
Abbas' renewed push for a vote on the war crimes report in the UN Human Rights Council reverses his decision earlier this month to delay voting for six months. Palestinian officials withdrew their support under what Palestinian and US officials said was heavy US pressure.
This decision sparked sharp criticism across Palestinian society, with Abbas and his aides scrambling to repair the damage.
"I have instructed our Ambassador in Geneva to contact the groups to have an exceptional session of the council, and to move in this direction until in the end, having those who committed the worst, ugliest crimes against our people punished," Abbas said.
It remained unclear yesterday if renewed Palestinian support would bring about a vote.
Abbas defended his decision to agree to a six-month deferral by suggesting that the Palestinians had simply gone along with the prevailing view at the council.
First Published: Monday, October 12, 2009, 11:49