The behaviour of the Palestinian Authority in accepting the US and Israel’s demand to withdraw a motion endorsing the Goldstone Report on Israel’s war crimes in Gaza is not unique. During the Second World War, the Nazis set up Judenrat (Jewish Councils) in Nazi-occupied Europe. Of course the parallels are not exact, because it could be argued that in many cases the members of the Judenrat had no choice and were, in some cases, put up against a wall for refusing to serve. But there is no doubt that the Judenrat were an instrument in the hands of the Nazis as they set about their task of exterminating the Jews of Europe.
There is therefore even less justification for the actions of Abbas than for the Nazi Judenrat. Abbas’s only penalty for defying Israel is the loss of lucrative contracts for his sidekicks and a mobile phone network.
Unlike Quisling, who was a convinced Nazi, Abbas is not a Zionist. Merely a collaborator. As Oscar Wilde noted, it is a distinction without a difference. The behaviour of Abbas in lending the support of his ‘Palestinian Authority’ to Israel, over the bodies of over 400 Palestinian children beggars belief. And why did they do it? Because the corrupt and venal members of the PA stood to lose a great deal of money if Israel didn’t hand over the necessary frequency for a second mobile phone network in the West Bank.
It was indeed a terrible dilemma for the bankers, merchants and just plain vanilla collaborators, including the CIA’s boy in Ramallah, Mahmoud Dahlan, of the Palestinian Authority. But they found a solution. Abbas agreed to ‘postpone’ a resolution in the UN’s Human Rights Commission approving the Goldstone Report and forwarding it to the UN Security Council for onward transmission to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Below are a number of articles. The first is from the founder of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, on the role of Abbas. Let it not be forgot that despite Israel’s tantrums and gnashing of teeth, Goldstone is both Jewish and a liberal Zionist. The idea that his Report is motivated by ‘anti-Semitism’ has as much purchase as the idea that those who condemned Nazi atrocities were motivated by hatred of the Germans.
Below this is an article by Palestinian human rights organisations condemning the PA’s treachery and beneath that is an article in the Jerusalem Post that is interesting for what it reveals. If true, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, not only was Abbas and co. silent as Israel began its blitzkrieg into Gaza, but it was positively encouraging the attack. Even worse, Abbas was lobbying to have the Israelis continue the invasion until his own men were installed. The Jerusalem Post article is basically a complaint from Israel’s Security Apparatchiks that the PA were saying one thing to them at certain time and then feigning ignorance when it was convenient.
Abbas, who has a doctorate, no doubt understands history very well. He will no doubt remember what happened to King Abdullah of Jordan, who also reached an agreement with Israel that led to the expulsion of ¾ million Palestinians and the deaths of thousands.
on the web site of Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain.
We know that some, maybe most, members of PSC Executive, in particular the supporters of Socialist Action, are opposed to any criticism of the Ramallah collaborators. Support for national liberation movements tends to mean support for the leaders at the expense of the people. However the Report on PSC’s site could have been found on a Zionist site. Headlined Israel urges the UN ‘Come to your senses on Goldstone Report’ it speaks of a ‘deferral of the report until March’.
This is wholly dishonest when they know full well that ‘postponement’ means abandonment. If the Report is not approved today, it is hardly likely to be approved in over 6 months time.
And what of the following sub-heading ‘Intense diplomacy’ leads to Palestinian Authority delaying endorsement of UN resolution on war crimes’.
Is it really being suggested that those delicate flowers of the PA were unable to stand up to a barrage of ‘intense diplomacy’? It would apparently ‘harm the Middle East peace process’ [what process you may ask]. But Abbas and his corrupt henchmen weren’t bowled over by diplomacy but by the threat of Israel reneging on a multi-million dollar deal for mobile phone frequencies’
What kind of ‘solidarity’ is it that covers for corrupt leaders and ignores those whose loss of life led to the Goldstone Report? These are the politics of a tiny ex-Trotskyist sect which believes that solidarity means solidarity with quislings.
Now there is nothing wrong from quoting from articles in the Israeli press. I do it below but I do so in order to prove that even Israeli and Zionist sources agree with what we are saying on a particular issue or because they provide an interesting perspective or information. What I don’t do is cite an article uncritically from an Israeli source, whose only purpose is to justify the latest atrocity. Imagine the reaction if the Anti-Apartheid Movement had cited uncritically reports in the South African press justifying the Soweto massacres.
PSC Executive owes its membership an explanation for this appalling ‘report’. Its job is to educate and inform its membership and the outside world, not to acts as a megaphone for collaborators in the PA and those who justified Gaza in the Israeli press.
Just when it seemed that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader Mahmoud Abbas could not sink any lower in their complicity with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the murderous blockade of Gaza, Ramallah has dealt a further stunning blow to the Palestinian people.
The Abbas delegation to the United Nations in Geneva (officially representing the moribund Palestine Liberation Organization) abandoned a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Judge Richard Goldstone’s report on war crimes in Gaza to the UN Security Council for further action. Although the PA acted under US pressure, there are strong indications that the commercial interests of Palestinian and Gulf businessmen closely linked to Abbas also played a part.
The 575-page Goldstone report documents evidence of shocking Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity during last winter’s assault on the Gaza Strip which killed 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority noncombatants and hundreds of them children. The report also accuses the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas of war crimes for firing rockets into Israel that killed three civilians.
Goldstone’s report was hailed by Palestinians and supporters of the rule of law worldwide as a watershed; it called for suspects to be held accountable before international courts if Israel failed to prosecute them. Israel has no history, ever, of holding its political and military leaders judicially accountable for war crimes against the Palestinians.
Israel was rightly terrified of the report, mobilizing all its diplomatic and political resources to discredit it. In recent days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that if the report were acted on, it would “strike a severe blow to the war against terrorism,” and “strike a fatal blow to the peace process, because Israel will no longer be able to take additional steps and take risks for peace if its right to self-defense is denied.”
Unsurprisingly, an early ally in the Israeli campaign for impunity was the Obama Administration, whose UN ambassador, Susan Rice, expressed “very serious concerns” about the report and trashed Goldstone’s mandate as “unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.” (Rice was acting true to her word; in April she told the newspaper Politico that one of the main reasons the Obama Administration decided to join the UN Human Rights Council was to fight what she called “the anti-Israel crap.”)
Goldstone, whose daughter has publicly described her father as a Zionist who loves Israel, is a former judge of the South African Supreme Court, and a highly respected international jurist. He was the chief prosecutor at UN war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
That the Goldstone report was a severe blow to Israel’s ability to commit future war crimes with impunity is not in doubt; this week bolstered by the report, lawyers in the UK asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. That action did not succeed, but Israel’s government has taken extraordinary measures in recent months to try to shield its officials from prosecution, fearing that successful arrests are just a matter of time. Along with the growing international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, the fear of ending up in The Hague seems to be the only thing that causes the Israeli government and society to reconsider their destructive path.
One would think, then, that the self-described representatives of the Palestinian people would not casually throw away this weapon. And yet, according to Abbas ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi, the Ramallah PA shelved its effort at the request of the Americans because “We don’t want to create an obstacle for them.”
Khraishi’s excuse that the resolution is merely being deferred until the spring does not pass muster. Unless action is taken now, the Goldstone report will be buried by then and evidence of Israel’s crimes — necessary for prosecutions — may be harder to collect.
This latest surrender comes less than two weeks after Abbas appeared at a summit in New York with US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu despite Obama abandoning his demand that Israel halt construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Also under US pressure, the PA abandoned its pledge not to resume negotiations unless settlement-building stopped, and agreed to take part in US-mediated “peace talks” with Israel in Washington this week. Israel, meanwhile, announced plans for the largest ever West Bank settlement since 1967.
What makes this even more galling, is the real possibility that the PA is helping Israel wash its hands of the blood it spilled in Gaza for something as base as the financial gain of businessmen closely linked to Abbas.
The Independent (UK) reported on 1 October:
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Decision of Palestinian Leadership and International Pressure an Insult to the Victims
Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *
Yesterday, 2 October 2009, the Palestinian leadership – under heavy international pressure lead by the United States – deferred the draft proposal at the Human Rights Council endorsing all the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission (the Goldstone Report). This deferral denies the Palestinian peoples’ right to an effective judicial remedy and the equal protection of the law. It represents the triumph of politics over human rights. It is an insult to all victims and a rejection of their rights.
The crimes documented in the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission represent the most serious violations of international law; Justice Goldstone concluded that there was evidence to indicate that crimes against humanity may have been committed in the Gaza Strip. Violations of international law continue to this day, inter alia, through the continuing Israeli-imposed illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip. The findings of the Mission confirmed earlier investigations conducted by independent Palestinian, Israeli and international organisations.
The injustice that has now been brought upon Palestinians has been brought upon everyone on this globe. International human rights and humanitarian law are not subject to discrimination, they are not dependent on nationality, religion, or political affiliation. International human rights and humanitarian law apply universally to all human beings.
The rule of law is intended to protect individuals, to guarantee their fundamental rights. Yet, if the rule of law is to be respected it must be enforced. World history, and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has shown us that as long as impunity persists, the law will continue to be violated; innocent civilians will continue to suffer the horrific consequences.
Justice delayed is justice denied. All victims have a legitimate right to an effective judicial remedy, and the equal protection of the law. These rights are universal: they are not subject to political considerations. In the nine months since Operation Cast Lead, no effective judicial investigations have been conducted into the conflict. Impunity prevails. In such situations, international law demands recourse to international judicial mechanisms. Victims’ rights must be upheld. Those responsible must be held to account.
The belief that accountability and the rule of law can be brushed aside in the pursuit of peace is misguided. History has taught us time and time again, that sustainable peace can only be built on human rights, on justice, and the rule of law. For many years in Palestine international law, and the rule of law, has been sacrificed in the name of politics, and cast aside in favour of the peace process. This approach has been tried, and it has failed: the occupation has been solidified, illegal settlements have continued to expand, the right to self determination has been denied; innocent civilians suffer the horrific consequences. It is now time to pursue justice, and a peace built on a foundation of human rights, dignity, and the rule of law. In Justice Goldstone’s words, there is no peace without justice.
The justifications given by the Palestinian leadership regarding the decision to defer are inappropriate. Consensus is not required, the United Nations system works on a majority basis. Since the beginning of the UN, and over the course of the Israeli occupation begun in 1967, consensus has rarely been acquired. The UN was established to represent the will of the nations of the world; it is inevitable that there will be dissent and disagreement. Decisions must rest on the will of the majority.
As human rights organisations we strongly condemn the Palestinian leaderships’ decision to defer the proposal endorsing all the recommendations of the Fact Finding Mission, and the pressure exerted by certain members of the international community. Such pressure is in conflict with States international obligations, and is an insult to the Palestinian people.
As human rights and civil society organizations concerned with rights and justice, we declare that we will double our efforts to seek justice for the victims of the violations of human rights and international law in oPt without delay.
PA drops pressure on UN to act on Gaza op report
Haaretz October 2, 2009
By Barak Ravid
The Palestinian Authority yesterday decided to drop its draft resolution condemning Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive last winter, in effect deferring its adoption of the Goldstone Commission report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes.
The PA had originally planned to present the draft to the Human Rights Council in Geneva for a vote planned for today. The decision not to pursue the resolution means that any similar effort will have to wait until at least March.
An Israeli official said the decision appears to be the result of pressure by U.S. officials on their Palestinian counterparts.
The Obama administration has told the Palestinians that a renewal of the peace process must take precedence over any diplomatic initiative based on the Goldstone report, or any other initiatives that could stifle efforts to renew Israel-PA negotiations. This position was coordinated with Israel, according to an Israeli official.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in recent days that efforts to use the Goldstone report to advance anti-Israel measures in the Human Rights Council or in international legal proceedings in The Hague would deal a deathblow to the peace process.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, has held talks with foreign ministers from the EU, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere about the report, which Lieberman described as a “dangerous precedent that would compromise democratic nations’ ability to defend themselves.”
Lieberman says follow-up steps to the Goldstone report would focus on NATO forces in Afghanistan and Russian forces in Chechnya. Israel’s envoys to Geneva, headed by Ambassador Roni Leshno Yaar, are expected to continue to drive this message home in the coming weeks to try to block any attempt by another party – possibly an Arab state – to submit a resolution calling for the adoption of the Goldstone report.
The Palestinian decision not to push the report was “proof that Israel was right not to cooperate with the investigation and that it was a political tool that can be blocked through diplomatic activity,” a source said.
PA`s conflicting approaches as different as night and day
KHALED ABU TOAMEH
2 October 2009
One sometimes wonders whether the PA that speaks and acts during the day is the same PA that speaks and functions during the night.
During the day, the Palestinian Authority acts and speaks as if its leaders had never signed a peace treaty with Israel. During the day, Israel is the enemy that continues to deny the Palestinians their rights, seize their lands, arrest and kill their innocents, and expand existing settlements.
But during the night, the Palestinian Authority changes its colors and speaks and acts in a completely different manner. During the night, the Israeli enemy becomes a friend and peace partner with whom it`s legitimate to conduct security coordination and eat in fancy restaurants.
During Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian security officers in the West Bank provided Israel with valuable intelligence that contributed to the elimination of many Hamas operatives and `military targets.` Moreover, the PA even pressured Israel not to stop the war unless Hamas was removed from power. In other words, the Palestinian Authority was telling Israel that it should continue bombing the Gaza Strip until Hamas surrendered.
Palestinian officials, including some of Mahmoud Abbas`s top aides, did not hide their disappointment when the war ended without the removal or collapse of Hamas.
As soon as the war ended, the same Palestinian Authority that had urged Israel to `finish off the job,` and that had provided Israel with vital information about Hamas figures and installations in the Gaza Strip, started accusing Israel of committing `war crimes.` The PA even appealed to The Hague court to launch an investigation into the alleged war crimes.
The Palestinian Minister of Justice, Ali Khashan, was dispatched to The Hague to follow up on the issue with the court`s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
Now the PA, which is holding some 1,000 Hamas `supporters` in its prisons without trial, is urging the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Goldstone Commission Report in full and to pass it on to the General Assembly for action.
The PA`s `generals` and `colonels` hold daily meetings with their Israeli counterparts to discuss security-related issues. Unlike ordinary Palestinians, senior Palestinian officials can travel to Israel and anywhere they want thanks to VIP cards and other privileges they receive from the Israeli Defense Ministry.
During the night, Palestinian security officials hold secret meetings with their Israeli counterparts. But during the day, the Palestinian Authority is demanding that the same Israeli officials be tried as war criminals. Some of these `war criminals,` by the way, are responsible for the fact that the senior PA leaders and their families are able to receive free medical treatment in Israel – a privilege that most Palestinians can only dream about.
This hypocrisy is also evident in the PA`s approach toward normalization with Israel and the status of the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem.
On the one hand, the Palestinian Authority is publicly combating normalization, exactly as Israel`s two other Arab peace partners, Egypt and Jordan, are doing. However, this anti-normalization drive obviously does not apply to the leaders of the PA and their sons, who continue to do business with Israel both openly and secretly. This, in addition to regular meetings that take place – away from the spotlight – between Palestinian government officials, businessmen, journalists and physicians and their Israeli counterparts.
These days the PA is leading a fierce campaign against what it calls Israel`s efforts to destroy the Aksa Mosque. This campaign intensified immediately after the failed tripartite summit in New York on September 22 that brought Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together with US President Barack Obama.
Abbas went to the meeting against his will and after he had spent the last few months promising the Palestinians that he would not meet with Netanyahu or resume the peace talks until Israel halted construction in the settlements. Abbas was dragged to the summit under immense pressure from the Obama administration.
Now that his pride has been hurt and his credibility shattered in the eyes of his constituents, Abbas has stepped up the verbal assault on Israel. Palestinian spokesmen and Abbas advisers have been exploiting every available platform to tell millions of Arabs and Muslims that the Jews are destroying Islam`s third holiest site. Earlier this week, this campaign resulted in an outburst of violence in Jerusalem – the worst in years.
Israeli government officials have been working hard to explain to their Palestinian counterparts that there is no such thing as an Israeli `conspiracy` to destroy the mosque. Although many Palestinian officials and spokesmen have privately and quietly accepted the Israeli version, they nevertheless continue to shout that the mosque is on the verge of collapse.
Israel demands PA drop war crimes suit at The Hague
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz
Tensions are mounting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following Ramallah’s call on the International Court at The Hague to examine claims of “war crimes” that the IDF allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. The issue is already weighing in on the relations between the leadership of Israel’s defense and security establishment with their
counterparts in the West Bank, and is part of a growing list of Israeli complaints about the behavior of PA officials.
Meanwhile, Israel has warned the Palestinian Authority that it would condition permission for a second cellular telephone provider to operate in the West Bank – an economic issue of critical importance to the PA leadership – on the Palestinians withdrawing their request at the
The issue of a second cellular provider is at the center of talks between the PA, the international Quartet, and Israel, and has been ongoing for some months. Currently the sole provider is Pal-Tel, and the PA prime minister, Salam Fayyad, considers the introduction of another carrier as an important step in improving the civilian infrastructure in the West Bank. The project is central to Watanya, the company that is set to serve as the second provider, and profits are expected to be substantial. However, if the project is not approved by October 15, the PA will be forced to pay a penalty estimated at $300 million, the sum that has already been invested in licensing and infrastructure.
Western diplomats, including the Quartet’s envoy to the region, former British prime minister Tony Blair, and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, have made it clear to senior Israeli officials that time is running out, and have urged them to allow for the establishment of a second provider to go forward.
Israel’s objections begin with the issue of transmission frequencies. The frequencies that the Palestinians want the new company to use are very close to ones used by the Israel Defense Forces in some of its most sensitive activities.
“Israel is making it difficult for us on many levels,” complains Mohammed Mustafa, economic adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “They now want us to pressure Pal-Tel to release some of its frequencies, so that they can be used by Watanya.”
However, another, more substantive issue was recently added, when the Palestinian Authority appealed to the International Criminal Court. Security sources told Haaretz that this move, which was authorized by Fayyad and Abbas, incensed senior officials of the defense establishment, especially army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Ashkenazi has been kept busy by involvement in a holding action against the threat that Israeli officers would be brought before the court as a result of charges that the IDF committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Concern has intensified following the grave report that the Goldstone Commission released two weeks ago on behalf of the United Nations.
In Israel the argument is that the PA is being unfair, and that at the time of the operation in the Gaza Strip, last winter, its senior officials encouraged their Israeli counterparts to step up the pressure on Hamas, and even to attempt to bring its rule in the territory to the point of collapse.
However, at a latter stage they joined those decrying Israel and its alleged actions in the Strip.
In light of this tension, the chief of staff conditioned his approval of a second cellular provider to the Palestinians’ withdrawing their appeal to the court.
“The PA has reached the point where it has to decide whether it is working with us or against us,” senior figures in the defense establishment have said. At the PA it is being said, in response to the Israeli demands, that Abbas and Fayyad will water down their appeal to the ICJ, though they will refuse to promise that it will rescinded entirely.
During the past year Israel defense officials have often praised the Palestinians on improving their contribution to securing the West Bank, and of the decisive character of the leadership under Fayyad. However, in recent weeks there have been increasing claims that even as the Authority is being praised by Israel and the international community, it is behaving irresponsibly by violating agreements between the two sides.
The Israeli claims focus on the growing presence of Palestinian security personnel in civilian clothing in East Jerusalem, contrary to the obligations of the PA. The security personnel participate in prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque, and at other sites in the city, and have stepped up their presence in the Jerusalem’s medical and educational facilities. Moreover, they have also been involved in the abduction of Palestinians suspected of selling property to Jews.