Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

PLO Leadership Blackmailed By Israel?

Two months ago, many western commentators were jubilant that Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S.-supported head of both the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA), was making a comeback. But a series of events in recent weeks has sent Abbas’s level of support from his people into a nosedive. The most serious has been the reaction among Palestinians to a decision Abbas or someone close to him made to postpone any further U.N. action on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report into the atrocities committed during last winter’s Israel-Gaza war.

Richard Goldstone, a very distinguished South African jurist and war-crimes prosecutor, presented his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on Sep. 29. It contained a recommendation that the HRC forward the report’s lengthy and detailed findings regarding wrongdoing by both sides to the Security Council for possible further action.

But when the HRC discussed Goldstone’s report on Oct. 1, the PLO’s representative requested that the HRC sit on the report until next March before doing anything further. Most Palestinians, both within and outside their historic homeland, were outraged. They demanded to know who took that decision, and why.

Palestinian media came out with two  explanations of what had persuaded Abbas to block any speedy action on the Goldstone Report. One focused on economic incentives that Israel held out to a well-connected Palestinian company eager to acquire the bandwidth that it needs to set up a new cell-phone service. The other report concerned a different, even more insidious form of Israeli blackmail.  Shahab news agency reported that PA/PLO representatives were persuaded to drop their support for speedy action on Goldstone after they were played a videotape and an audiotape, reportedly recorded during last winter’s war, in which Abbas and a key security aide, Tayyib Abdul-Rahim, both urged Israel’s leaders to continue and even escalate their attack on Gaza.

One thing that is clear is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been very serious about blocking any Security Council consideration of the Goldstone Report. Netanyahu’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, said that the Goldstone Report is more insidious than the Holocaust denial.

Meantime, there is increasing talk amongst both Palestinians and many Israelis of the possibility of a new intifada.


3 Responses to “PLO Leadership Blackmailed By Israel?”

  1. The latest, according to reports, is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas made a live televised speech on Sunday evening in which he sharply attacked Israel for their actions in Gaza.

    Furthermore, he has now directed PA representatives in Geneva to ask the UN Human Rights Organization to convene an urgent session to discuss the findings of its controversial Goldstone Report, which claims Israel committed “war crimes” against Gaza residents during its Cast Lead Operation.

  2. Tuesday update: The United Nations Human Rights Council will reopen a debate about alleged war crimes in Gaza later this week, officials said, after Palestinians succeeded in gathering enough support to call a special meeting. That is to say, after two weeks of criticism, Abbas ordered his envoy to resubmit the proposal for a vote.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has meanwhile vowed never to allow his country’s leaders or soldiers to stand trial for war crimes over their actions during last winter’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, during which time 13 Israelis and almost 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

  3. […] goes beyond the Gaza conflict. It “strongly condemns” measures taken by Israel limiting Palestinian access to their properties and holy sites “on the basis of national origin, religion, sex, […]

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