And why? Well, the US put considerable pressure on Mahmoud Abbas to leave it there, since nothing made Israel madder than the Goldstone report. It will be recalled that Abbas, after an earlier display of US pressure had agreed to an "independents expert committee" (led by Judge McGowan Davis), and a delay of accountability. As Jared Malsin put it last October
Last month, under US and Israeli pressure, the Palestinian Authority (PA), once again delayed the process of accountability. This came at a September 29 vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, in which the PA backed a resolution to give Israel and Hamas officials in Gaza six more months to investigate crimes documented in Richard Goldstone's UN Fact Finding Missionreport. According to Palestinian and international human rights groups, the Palestinian Authority has decided that the Goldstone report must remain in Geneva, away from the relatively more powerful UN bodies in New York. This is a position identical to that of the US State Department, which wants to keep pressure off Israel during the newly re-launched political negotiations.
By adopting this position, rights groups say, the PA is placing itself in open conflict with the interests of its own people. "What's very clear now is that the PA wants the report to stay in Geneva," said Fred Abahams of Human Rights Watch. "We thought there was a lot of progress made in New York and this was a step backwards...with peace talks going, they don't want Goldstone anywhere near the agenda," Abrahams said on the phone from New York.
The PA has never been a fan of human rights. This it shares in common with Hamas and the Israeli government. So it's not surprising that the US, Israel, and the PA, can agree to ensure that Israeli war criminals won't be dragged before the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes. Such maneuvers are "distractions" from the "peace process".
And now, according to some observers, Mahmoud Abbas has done it again. He took the statehood bid to the United Nations Security Council, not against the wishes of the US and Israel, but in accordance with them. For had he gone to the General Assembly, he would have received an immediate upgrade of the Palestinians' status -- enough of an upgrade to be able to drag Israel before the ICC and other international organizations. This he could not get from the Security Council, not because of a potential US veto, but because the US continues to place intense pressure on a handful of states serving now on the Security Council. My hunch is that there will be no need for the US veto. If the subject ever comes to a vote -- a very big if -- the US will have been able to get what it wants.
The Statehood bid, like the Goldstone report, will likely be buried under the bus. But that doesn't mean that Abbas was wrong to go to the UN. In so far as the process has served to reveal the US and Israel as the neighborhood bullies (again), that can only weaken their prestige in the world. Who likes a bully?
And in the meantime, sumud, sumud, sumud.