The investigation, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, concluded in a 575-page report that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during their Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict in Gaza.
The 47-nation rights council had been expected to pass a resolution this week that could have brought Israeli officials one step closer to prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It decided instead to delay a decision until March, after what officials described as "intense diplomacy" from the United States.
Palestinian deputy ambassador Imad Zuhairi said Friday that the deferral was a result of his government's desire to build broad international support for action next year. "This is not a victory for Israel," Zuhairi told The Associated Press. "The report is there and we will ensure that the report remains alive."
Washington and its close ally Israel have rejected the U.N. document as biased.