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Haniyeh: World must back Goldstone's Gaza report
Published Sunday 20/09/2009 (updated) 22/09/2009 10:24
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Ismail Haniyeh (center) at a Ramadan prayer session in Gaza [MaanImages]
Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged world powers on Sunday to embrace a recently-released report on alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s recent war on the Gaza Strip.

“We hope the report … will not be doomed to the fate of the dozens of reports that Israel has condemned for decades,” referring to the report of the fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone.

Released last week, Goldstone’s 575-page report drew criticism from the US and Israel for its finding that Israel committed war crimes during the attack on Gaza. While the report focuses on Israel, it also calls for further investigations into alleged violations by Palestinian armed groups.

Responding to the alleged Palestinian violations, Haniyeh said he “affirm[s] our right to self-defense under international law.”

Haniyeh specifically asked the Arab League and European countries to use all means to make sure the report is brought to the attention to the UN Security Council and then referred to prosecutors.

Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights groups reported that more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week war, including more than 700 civilians.

The Hamas leader was speaking to a mass prayer session and rally in Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City, shortly after dawn on Sunday morning, the first day of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month of Ramadan. Some 30,000 men, women and children filled the football pitch. Palestinian and Hamas flags flew from the goal posts.

Shedding his usual suit for the robes and headdress of a Sheikh, Haniyeh said that this first Eid after the war in January is “An Eid of victory.”

“This Eid is your Eid, the Samouni family,” he said, referring to a Gaza family that lost 29 of its members when Israeli forces herded them into one building and then shelled it. “This is our Eid.”

Haniyeh also referred to the current US push for renewed peace negotiations, arguing that the position of the Obama administration is no different from previous administrations, in that it calls for Palestinians to relinquish their rights.

“From Gaza, from a place of strength, we say we will not relinquish our rights.”

The prime minister also spoke about the situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank. He issued a Fatwa against Palestinians working for companies that are building illegal Israeli settlements.

Martyrs Cemetery

Also on Sunday morning, Palestinian families carried out an Eid tradition: visiting the graves of those killed in the struggle against the Israeli occupation.

At the Sheikh Radwan Cemetery, dozens of families visited the tombs of their loved ones, mainly “Martyrs” killed in the two Intifadas and the recent war. Hamas leaders Ahmad Yassin, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, and Said Siyam are buried there. Some washed the gravestones. Others sat and contemplated. Some wept. A sign in Arabic hanging at the gate of the warned that the graveyard is full, urging locals not to bury more bodies.

One woman, dressed in black sat weeping at the grave of her son, Ramadan Abu Kheir, a police officer who was killed in the massive airstirkes that began the war on 27 December.

“She hasn’t stopped crying since the day her son died,” said another female relative sitting by her side.

The woman said she hadn’t heard Haniyeh’s speech earlier. Asked if she agreed with Haniyeh that this was an “Eid of victory,” she said “Insha’Allah,” God willing.
1 ) ken hammond / australia
20/09/2009 11:43
we should therefore also accept that the palistinians also have and have always had the inalienable right to their existance and self defence. Israel does NOT have a monopoly on this concept.

2 ) Ian Robertson / UK
20/09/2009 16:45
Re: #1 In your opinion, does the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets from Gaza at Israeli towns constitute "self defence"? The Israelis invaded Gaza to stop the rocket fire and they succeeded. Goldstone also called Qassams "a war crime". Haniyeh is ignoring the double edged sword.

3 ) Bilal / UK
20/09/2009 16:55
Why do Muslims visit graves during Eid? Eid is a time of joy and celebration and visiting the graves of loved ones produces sorrow and sadness inside. Im not saying we should not do dua' for those who have passed but visiting the graves on a day of festivity is not the right path. Eid Mubarak!

4 ) Haifa / USA
20/09/2009 17:45
Thank you Ken I agree with you whole-heartedly. After 61 years of suffering we will NOT relinquish our right to resist this ugly occupation, our right to return to our land all of Palestine.

5 ) Paul / Montreal
20/09/2009 19:53
Ian, cast your mind back to June 2008 when Hamas agreed to a ceasefire which everyone agrees held until early December 2008 when Israel killed 6 Hamas men. This started firing of Qassams again. This gave Israel it's pretext for it's massacre on Gaza. How quickly people forget the facts.

6 ) Solomon2 / USA
23/09/2009 16:23
The U.N. priority is to protect its own personnel. Lacking force in Gaza, it thus must avoid offending Hamas. For example, the report contains Hamas' admission that they employed civilian human shields, but covers itself by denying this constitutes proof and conspicuously stops looking further.

7 ) kill the hamas / israel forever!
04/10/2009 23:24
Goldstone is nazi where he was when qassam rockets were fired on israel for 8 years?
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