Under pressure, PA defers endorsing the Goldstone commission report; Goldstone-gate

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Under pressure, PA defers endorsing the Goldstone commission report; Goldstone-gate

Date: Thursday, 1 Oct 2009
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Amira Hass reports (5 October 2009):

In a single phone call to his man in Geneva, Mahmoud Abbas has demonstrated his disregard for popular action, and his lack of faith in its accumulative power and the place of mass movements in processes of change. For nine months, thousands of people Palestinians, their supporters abroad and Israeli anti-occupation activists toiled to ensure that the legacy of Israel's military offensive against Gaza would not be consigned to the garbage bin of occupying nations obsessed with their feelings of superiority.
Thanks to the Goldstone report, even in Israel voices began to stammer about the need for an independent inquiry into the assault. But shortly after Abbas was visited by the American consul-general on Thursday, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization got on the phone to instruct his representative on the United Nations Human Rights Council to ask his colleagues to postpone the vote on the adoption of the report's conclusions. Heavy American pressure and the resumption of peace negotiations were the reasons for Abbas' move, it was said. Palestinian spokespeople spun various versions over the weekend in an attempt to make the move kosher, explaining that it was not a cancelation but a six-month postponement that Abbas was seeking.

A great deal of political folly and short-sightedness was bared by that phone call, on the eve of Hamas's celebration of its victory in securing the release of 20 female prisoners. Precisely on that day, Abbas put Gaza in the headlines within the context of the PLO's defeatism and of spitting in the face of the victims of the attack that is how they felt in Gaza and elsewhere. Abbas confirmed in fact that Hamas is the real national leadership, and gave ammunition to those who claim that its path the path of armed struggle yields results that negotiations do not.
This was not an isolated gaffe, but a pattern that has endured since the PLO leadership concocted, together with naive Norwegians and shrewd Israeli lawyers, the Oslo Accords. Disregard for, and lack of interest in the knowledge and experience accumulated in the inhabitants of the occupied territories' prolonged popular struggle led to the first errors: the absence of an explicit statement that the aim was the establishment of a state within defined borders, not insisting on a construction freeze in the settlements, forgetting about the prisoners, endorsing the Area C arrangement, etc.

Mazin Qumsiyeh comments (5 October 2009):

It is hard to describe our emotions in the past three days in Palestine since we heard of the Palestinian "leadership" withdrawal of the discussions at the UN Human Rights Council about the Goldstone report. Can those who made the decision look straight in the eyes of the families of the 400 children butchered in Gaza and tell them that this was politically necessary because Hillary Clinton asked them to do it (the same administration that failed to even get the rapist to have a short pause in his rape!)? Maybe just one family (attached picture)? And will the rest of us (and yes each of us is responsible) be able to look into these same eyes and tell them we were satisfied with expressing sympathy and uttering words? Who decreed that popular civil action cannot be directed at those who harm the cause and happen to also be Palestinian? Will our shame, anger and revulsion be NOW moved to civil action? Will we really have a democratic civil society or one ruled by a clique of elites? Will decent people in Fateh stand-up to correct this trend? Will we say enough is enough and this was the straw that broke the camel's back? Demonstration in AlManara Square Ramallah today (monday) at noon.

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