Long knives in Ramallah over Goldstone?

Mahmoud Abbas, who wears the three hats as head of Fateh, president of the interim PA, and head of the PLO, has now “ordered an enquiry” into how it was that the PLO’s rep in Geneva agreed to defer the UN system’s further consideration of the Goldstone report.
So who authorized the decision?
Al-Quds al-Arabi said it was Salam Fayyad, who’s the US-appointed prime minister of the interim PA and in that position has been given an ex-officio seat on the PLO Executive Committee.
As I noted yesterday, Palestinian society– including many of Abbas’s allies– have been in an uproar over the decision. Ramallah PA economy minister Bassem Khoury even reportedly threatened to resign over it.
Anyway, this does seem like another example of Abbas-Fayyad– or perhaps more precisely Fateh-Fayyad– tensions becoming very much more serious in Ramallah.

19 thoughts on “Long knives in Ramallah over Goldstone?

  1. world peace

    A leader who does not reflect the agony and plight of his people, let alone stand as a spectator during the onslaught of his people, is a persona non-grata .
    Who is he appeasing, the U.S. ?
    This man is responsible for Oslo, recognizing Israel as a state with unlimited borders!leaving the most important questions, Jerusalem and the right of return for further discussion.
    Can someone correct me if this is wrong.
    what do we except from this man ? whatever we think of him, either way he is not fit to lead the Palestinians, he is careless and depressed .
    The three hats do not fit the head !

  2. WigWag

    Obama did the Palestinians a huge favor by insisting that the Goldstone Report be “deep sixed by the PA”
    Goldstone’s findings make it essentially impossible for Israel or any other nation to respond with overwhelming force against insurgents operating from civilian areas. In situations like the one faced by Israel in Gaza, targeting mistakes are inevitable, mistaking civilians for armed combatants is inevitable and overreactions by soldiers in the heat of battle are inevitable. Every army operating in an urban theater like Israel was in Gaza, behaves exactly like the Israelis did. The Allied Powers did in World War II; the U.S. did and continues to in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Russians did in Chechnya. If Ms Cobban or Mr. Goldstone have an example of an army applying overwhelming force in an urban area that behaved better than the Israelis did; they should provide that example.
    Had the Goldstone report gained traction and been referred to the UN Security Council (where it would have been vetoed anyway) a stake would have been driven through the heart of the peace talks. It would have eliminated any realistic possibility for a Palestinian State.
    Israel will never agree to withdraw from most of the West Bank and hand it over to Palestinians for their future nation if the Israelis are to be forbidden to respond to provocative actions like rocket fire that might someday emanate from the West Bank. No nation is willing to respond to provocations such as rocket fire with measured force or with a tit for tat response. The military doctrine of every nation calls for attacks on its territory to be met with overwhelming force; Israel is just like the United States, China, Russia and every other nation in this regard.
    NATO, European or U.S. peacekeepers in the West Bank will never be enough to guarantee Israel’s security; the record of success of these “peacekeeping” forces in Lebanon and elsewhere is not good. Israel will always insist on being able to respond militarily to rocket fire that comes from Palestinian territory. Having its hands tied by the findings of Goldstone makes meaningful military retaliation (and thus deterrence) an impossibility.
    If Israel has to live with Goldstone’s idea of what is and isn’t allowed in terms of a military response, it will have no choice but to refuse to withdraw; ever.
    The Palestinians can have Goldstone or someday maybe they can have a nation.
    They can’t have both.

  3. Helena

    WigWag, the Palestinians have– indeed, are– a nation. They don’t need you or anyone else to tell them if or when they can have one. Their nation deserves justice just as much as anyone else’s. “All that you have done to their people is written down in notebooks.” Including, now, the notebooks of Richard Goldstone.

  4. WigWag

    “WigWag, the Palestinians have– indeed, are– a nation.”
    I’m afraid that’s true only in your imagination, Ms Cobban and perhaps in theirs.
    But if the Palestinians do want to exercise the attributes of nationhood, they are going to need to become far more realistic as are their supporters in the West.
    The Israelis will only withdraw from the West Bank if they are convinced they can do so safely. That will require both peacekeeping forces stationed on the border between the two states and an Israeli ability to respond massively if Palestinians launch rockets from their territory.
    Without both peacekeeping forces and the ability to massively respond to provocations, you can call the Palestinians a nation all you want; but they still won’t control any territory because Israel will not withdraw.
    The Obama Administration rescued the Palestinians yet again. A referral of the Goldstone Report would have set back their attempts to expel the Israelis by years if not longer.

  5. Salah

    Salam Fayyad when he submitted his resignation, saying he hopes the move will clear the way for a national unity government.
    Mahmoud Abbas said Fayyad’s resignation “is meant to enhance and support the national dialogue.”
    What a hypocrites and misleading characters in top of Palestinians authority
    Salam Fayyad merits is to please his nation’s enemy, and hide he dose not have the courage to come forward to tell his nation why he done it. well done another Salam “wolf”.
    The making of Salam Fayyad

  6. bevin

    wig-wag I cannot think of an army which has behaved worse, in a similar situation, than the IDF did in Gaza.
    Let us not bandy about assertions: the statistics in Gaza are clear enough. This was a massacre directed against a population which was, essentially, unarmed.
    The casualty figures are quite clear.
    And then there are the undeniable facts of the actual specific incidents to which Goldstone refers.
    There is the fact that the operation began with an attack on a parade of graduating police cadets.
    Which, last, suggests to me collusion with Dahlan and the US.
    The truth is that this operation in Gaza was almost unique: how many Israeli soldiers were killed in the ‘heat of battle’? Was it five?
    Less than ten were killed by ‘enemy fire.’
    It was a turkey shoot. And about a thousand of the Palestinians killed appear to have been children, women and elderly non-combatants.
    Why? Because this was an operation aimed at killing the child bearing women and the young. It was not intended to target combatants. It had a demographic and a political rather than a military purpose.
    What the apologists for this set piece of fascist aggression cannot deny is that if the IDF record bears scrutiny then you will allow it to be scrutinised. In fact you put every obstacle in the way of those attempting to get at the truth.
    These are crimes, wig-wag, crimes involving the killing of hundreds of children: you should be apologising for what has been done. You should be working to make sure that nothing like it occurs again, ever. It is shameful to attempt to justify acts which no community can ever condone.
    It does Israel no favours to glory in the crimes committed in its name. It does America no good to voluntarily associate itself with acts so scandalous that the world cannot but abhor them.

  7. Steve bronfman

    …umm bevan, how about Russia in chechnia and Georgia, china in Tibet, Belgium in Congo, Iraq in Iran (and on own people), there’s dozens of examples of armys behaving a lot worse than Israel. That’s an idiotic statement not supported by facts ((I could mention Cambodia, Turks in Kurdistan, Indonesia in east timor literally every war I can think of shows 10x the death toll of gaza eg Timor alone was 100,000s dead!)

  8. kassandra

    Bronfman,
    In NONE of those countries that you mentioned did an occupying power enclose a powerless civilian population into an open-air prison, lock the gates to prevent them from leaving, starve them for a few years, and start indiscriminately bombing them with white phosphorous, and then knowingly direct strikes against UN hospitals and schools, Red Cross buldings, Red Crescent ambulances, humanitarian personnel.. the list is endlsess.. The massacre was on TV. The entire world saw it.
    NONE.
    But you did forget one instance, the Warsaw Ghetto. That is the only similarity to Gaza –the Warsaw Ghetto.

  9. kassandra

    One thing more bronfman, glad you see who you compare yourself with — Pol Pot. Apparently your subconscious understands what scum your self-excusing co-religionsits are.

  10. Jack

    Once again, the hasbaristas resort to defending Israeli policy by pointing out that some semi-civilized nations run by tyrants do the same thing as Israel. Then, without missing a beat, turn around and claim some sort of moral high ground for Israel and refer to the most moral army in the world. When your only defense is that there are some worse thugs in the world, you have no credibility; it is the last defense of the lost.
    It is clear that the US pressured Fatah, wearing whatever hat or face, to defer the consideration of the Goldstone report. They now face a far bigger problem; what to do about upcoming Palestinian elections. It is inconceivable that the Palestinians would return the quislings of Fatah to power. So what is the US/Israeli puppet-master to do? I believe that the initial response will be to decide that the Palestinians are not yet ready for democratic elections and so postpone them. Thus, continuing the illegal regime of their puppet, Abbas. At some point, even the most”moderate ” Palestinians will realize that the whole”peace process” is simply a sham to allow complete Israeli takeover of all of the territory of Palestine and deprive them of all human, civil, and economic rights. There will be full internal rebellion and a new regime will demand one state and civil rights for all, including Palestinians. Then the US will be faced with the clear decision to support the call for civil rights or openly support apartheid.

  11. JohnH

    Wigwag–I see you have taken your campaign beyond TWN. I am shocked an disgusted by your statement that “Every army operating in an urban theater like Israel was in Gaza, behaves exactly like the Israelis did.” Until now I hadn’t seen you attempt to justify war crimes. Your soul supposedly bleeds for the women and children of Iran, but you advocate the cold blooded killing of Palestinian women and children, which the Goldstone Report makes clear. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

  12. Michael W.

    Jack,
    The United States and its NATO allies are not “semi-civilized nations run by tyrants”.

  13. Michael W.

    Do you think the PA should have pushed for Goldstone’s recommendations? How well do you think that will play out for negotiations?
    If you agree with the Obama Administration’s goal to start talks and negotiations again, what is the US supposed to do if the PA is pursuing legal action against Israel through international means?
    I believe Helena was supporting an approach for the US to care for peace more than the parties themselves. That means arm twisting which it apparently did in this episode.
    If you don’t believe that the US administration should act like it cares more about peace than the parties themselves, than the US should let the PA push for Goldstone’s recommendations. It seems like this will be the will of the Palestinians.
    The above stands true if the notion that the PA proposal will not harm the peace effort is also true.
    The US funds and supports both the PA and Israel through money, weapons, and other resources. When the mother lets one child sue another, it is no longer influencing the children’s actions.

  14. JohnH

    Michael W. says, “what is the US supposed to do if the PA is pursuing legal action against Israel through international means?” Why not let them pursue legal action? Why not let the chips fall where they may, with Israel becoming the pariah state it deserves to be? Then maybe the world will impose the same kind of sanctions that finally caused South Africa to end white supremacy.

  15. John Francis Lee

    Dissolve the Palestinian Authority
    Succumbing to US pressures and unabashed Israeli blackmail, the president of the PA himself reportedly was himself responsible for the decision to defer discussion at the Council of the Goldstone report, dashing the hopes of Palestinians everywhere as well as of international human rights organizations and solidarity movements that Israel will finally face a long overdue process of legal accountability and that its victims will have a measure of justice. This decision by the PA, which in effect delays adoption of the report at least until March 2010, giving Israel a golden opportunity to bury it with US, European, Arab and now Palestinian complicity, constitutes the most blatant case yet of PA betrayal of Palestinian rights and surrender to Israeli dictates.
    The PA has the interests of Palestinians at heart just as Obama has the interests of Americans at heart.
    The PA/Contras care about satisfying Obama.
    Obama cares about satisfying Emanuel.

  16. Salah

    Serious human rights violations committed during the recent war in the Gaza Strip should not go unpunished, says a top Swiss diplomat.


    Dante Martinelli told states at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council that it was “their duty” to follow up a report that accuses Israel and Palestinian groups, notably Hamas, of war crimes during the armed conflict in Gaza last winter.
    “Serious crimes committed by both sides cannot be ignored,” the Swiss ambassador to the UN in Geneva told the packed room during a one-day debate on a recent report by Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist and former UN war crimes prosecutor.

    Gaza violations “must not go unpunished”

  17. WigWag

    As usual JohnH, your attempts to portray your position as somehow morally superior falls short. Whether it’s your support for the intolerant, hateful, gay bashing, Iranian Mullahs or their clients in Hamas, it’s your position that is “Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.”
    Any reasonable person would be tempted to conclude that you have no moral scruples at all. After all, you always side with the most reactionary, and conservative parties to every conflict in the Middle East.
    But other than your moral blindness, I see that neither you or anyone else has bothered to respond to my thesis that Goldstone (if taken seriously) would spell the death of Palestinian national aspirations.
    I suppose that’s because the position I articulated is irrefutable. The Obama Administration certainly agrees with me; after all, who knows what type of threats they had to make to the PA to get them to agree to squelch the report.

  18. Speedybullet

    I wonder why those who feel so strongly about alleged Israeli atrocities in Gaza seem so unconcerned about 8 years of rocket fire into Israel aimed at civilians-and that after Israel evacuated Israeli citizens from Gaza – both dead and alive and leveled the buildings at Fatahs request (except for the greenhouses which could have been used to produce income if anyone cared about the mundane requirements of sustaining life.) Estimates range between 8000 and 12000 rockets during this period. A war crime no?
    Moreover HAMAS, the putative rulers of Gaza explicitly argue for the extermination of Jews everywhere with the seeming support of much of the Gazan population. Despite this extreme hatred, the IDF telephoned and leafleted to warn civilians in advance of attacks while Hamas terrorists hid behind them. For the morally obtuse as well as the not so morally obtuse it’s useful to consider the differences.
    I wonder what the US would do if our border cities were relentlessly attacked from Mexico or Canada.

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