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Haniyeh: Abbas himself responsible for Goldstone report delay

Oct. 5, 2009 5:57 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 6, 2009 9:42 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – Gaza-based Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday of being personally responsible for the delay of international action on a United Nations report on war crimes in Gaza.

Abbas has come under fire since the Palestinian envoy to the UN in Geneva dropped the Palestinian endorsement of Justice Richard Goldstone’s report on the Israeli attack on Gaza last winter. The move means that action on the report will be delayed until March 2010 at the earliest.

Haniyeh told a meeting of meeting of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza that “the withdrawal of the report and postponing the vote is a political decision that has security, financial, and political dimensions that is linked to the movement of the US administration and its settlement process.”

“Withdrawing the Goldstone report came from the top authority in the West Bank, after the Authority in Ramallah demanded the Palestinian envoy in the UN to apply to the representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to postpone the vote on the report,” he added.

“We see the seriousness of stopping the decision equivalent to the decision itself which brought the Palestinian arena in new mazes and it is a real blow to all efforts made to restore national unity,” the Hamas leader also said.

“How can the parties sit at the reconciliation table and how can they create an atmosphere for signing the reconciliation in a situation created by the decision to postpone the Goldstone report?” he asked.

Haniyeh considered the postponement of Goldstone to be part of the Palestinian Authority’s overall approach: “The approach began by statements which justify the war and holds Hamas fully responsible of the war, and there are statements which give cover for the continuation of the war.”

According to Haniyeh, “the approach lasted after the war when the PA disrupted the process of reconstructing what was demolished by the Israeli occupation through putting pressure on the regional and international countries so as not to reconstruct Gaza in addition to continuing the siege of Gaza and preventing any serious international move to end the siege.”

“What happened was an unprecedented negligence of the blood of the martyrs and the rights of the Palestinian people in Gaza, West Bank, and Jerusalem,” he added.

Haniyeh said that Abbas’ decision to appoint a committee to investigate the affair did not make sense, because it was clear that Abbas himself was responsible: “The investigation is held when the doer is unknown, but in the case of withdrawing the Goldstone report the doer is known.”

Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas-affiliated member of the Legislative Council, said that Hamas should “ask Egypt to postpone the signing of the reconciliation agreement until there are clarifications of the facts.” He also asked “with whom should we sign a reconciliation agreement?”

Mahmud Az-Zahhar asked the Legislative Council to take practical action to “strip President Mahmud Abbas and all those who participated in the withdrawal and the postponing of the Goldstone report from the Palestinian nationality morally.”

Another official, Ismail Al-Ashkar said, “The withdrawal of the Goldstone report was because of security, economic and political reasons.” He accused the Palestinian Authority of being complicit in the recent war on Gaza. He also claimed that Israel had threatened to expose the PA’s role in the war if it had not withdrawn the report.

Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya argued that since it was expected that the US would eventually veto any action on the report in the Security Council, the PA’s actions in the Human Rights Council were a “free gift” to Israel.
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