Asharq Al-Awsat, London/Tel Aviv – Palestinian Envoy to Geneva Ibrahim Khraisha admitted that the decision to delay talks on the Goldstone report, which condemns Israel for committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip, until next March was a mistake.
This came after Khraisha began talks with various parties of the UN’s Human Rights Council based on the instructions of President Mahmoud Abbas to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the report.
Khraisha told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Yes, you could say that there was a mistake…We did not expect the reactions [that we got] especially from the Palestinian population, and we don’t see anything wrong in withdrawing from our position so we can be the first Arab leadership to comply with the demands of its people.”
Khraisha also admitted that there was confusion in discussions on the idea to postpone the report and he attributed this to what he called “objective conditions and contacts with many friendly and brotherly countries,” in addition to the prevalence of Hamas in the report.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell on Friday in an attempt to increase optimism regarding the possibility of resuming peace talks in spite of Palestinian, and even American, pessimism.
The Israelis believe that there is a possibility that Mahmoud Abbas will return to the negotiation table without insisting on the Israelis freezing settlement construction in exchange for a “set of measures” that Netanyahu submitted to Mitchell, reflecting their good intentions. It included reducing construction in settlements for at least the next nine months; authorizing the operation of a second communications network; removing more roadblocks and allowing [Palestinian] construction work to take place near the city of Ramallah.
Mitchell also expressed the US administration’s anger to Netanyahu for incitement in Israel against President Obama amongst a number of leftist circles, some of which belong to the ruling Likud Party. The administration said that this is not line with the efforts Obama is exerting to consolidate and strengthen Israeli security in the face of challenges and for Israel to live in peace with all its neighbors.