The report says Israel and Palestinian militants committed war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity, during the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
The report has come under sustained attack from Israel and its supporters.
The council, which since last month includes the US, failed to agree on a draft resolution endorsing the report. It will now be considered in March.
Palestinian officials denied the deferral was a victory for Israel.
It was reported earlier on Friday that the Palestinian Authority had withdrawn its support for a resolution endorsing the report, after strong pressure from Washington, but this was strongly denied by Palestinian officials.