A glance at the Maan News website today shows Palestinian society rising up to urge strong endorsement of the Goldstone Report’s recommendations, and criticizing Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO for blocking/delaying that action.
The most searing report comes from Gaza:
- Families of Gaza war victims voiced their disappointment with the Palestinian request to postpone discussion of the Goldstone report at the UN Human Rights Council.
“This is not a political issue,” families said countering US demands leading to the quashing of the resolution that the report “be discussed in a constructive and non-divisive manner.” “This is a purely humanitarian issue,” families insisted, “if Israeli leaders are not held accountable this could happen again.”
Gathering in the Al-Salam neighborhood east of Jabaliya, families who lost everything protested. The Samounis, the Balousha’s the Subbehs the As-Silawis, the Rayyan’s and the Abed Rabbos stood in Gaza and demanded the requests of the Goldstone report, to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for its actions, be put into action.
“No one has the right to give up on our rights,” one member of the Samouni family said. He had been with the over 50 Samouni men, women and children trapped in one home, who lost 26 members including 10 children and seven women over the course of just over a day on 3 January.
A member of the Rayyan family, whose patriarch Nizar Rayyan was a Hamas leader, lost Nizar’s four wives and ten children, Hayam Timraz, Nawal Kahlout, Eyman Kassab, Sherin Udwan, and ten of his children, Ghassan, Abdul-Qadir, Ayah, Maryam, Zaynab, Abdul-Rahman, Aysha, Halima, Osama and Reem who were between four and 17-years-old. All fourteen were killed, along with Nizar in the first days of January.
One of Nizar’s surviving children said she had been looking forward to seeing the Israeli leaders who ordered the strike on her family home put on trial for their crime.
Then, we have this appeal from the Palestinian human rights organizations that the UN General Assembly take urgent action to follow up on the report.
- In particular we call for the following:
· That the General Assembly recommends to member states of the UN, and to the Security Council, that the basis of any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be grounded in international law.
· That UN member states adopt a principled and determined stance, using the powers granted to the General Assembly under Resolution 377 A (V): ‘Uniting for Peace’ to: (1) recommend that Israel be subjected to the full weight of collective measures until its occupation of the OPT is ended and the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved; and (2) ensure that the recommendations of the Goldstone Report are followed in full in order to ensure that there is full accountability for the crimes committed in Gaza.
The participating organizations are:
Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre
ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
AL-DAMEER Association for Human Rights – Gaza
Defence for Children International – Palestine Section
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
ENSAN Association for Democracy and Human Rights
Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies
Many of these groups also participated in a parallel, and even broader initiative, reported here that explicitly critizes the decision by Abbas and the PLO (which runs the Palestinans’ international diplomacy) to bow to US/Israel pressures to delay the Human Rights Council’s action on the Goldstone Report.
This petition says,
- 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 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 organizations 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 Palestine without delay.
The groups signing the statement included:
Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Arab Association for Human Rights * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * ITTJIAH * 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 *
Criticism has also, understandably mounted to the level of politics.
In Gaza, five Palestinian factions, convened by Islamic Jihad, issued an explicit condemnation of the role played by the Abbas/PLO leadership.
That Maan report says this:
- the factions, including Hamas, the DFLP, the PFLP and the PPP, collectively expressed their condemnation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) decision to have debate over the report quashed at the UN Human Rights Committee on Friday.
(Interesting that Hamas allowed Islamic Jihad to take the lead on organizing that petition. Also, the signatories for Hamas were relatively low level. I guess the natinal-level leadership is still hoping the reconciliation deal with Fateh will work out in the near future.*)
But it’s not only the Gaza branches of these factions that are criticizing Abbas and the PLO leadership. Criticism has also come from the Ramallah-based Minister of Social Affairs, Majida al-Masri, a member of the DFLP’s politburo.
That Maan report says that Masri,
- called the stance of the Palestinian ambassador to the UN “contradictory to Palestinian national consensus,” and a move that “angered friends and allies of the Palestinian people.”
The DFLP leader also accused the PLO, of which Hamas is not a member, of making a decision that “deepened Palestinian rivalry and posed questions about the motives for such a stance and the decision makers who gave directives.”
She called in the Palestinian leadership to “reconsider what happened and learn the lesson to avoid repetition of such situations in future.”
No word yet on whether she will resign her PIA post in protest…