Mystery behind PNA request to postpone UN Gaza report vote

11:49, October 06, 2009      

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Mystery surrounds the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)'s request to postpone a vote on a U.N. fact-finding report prepared by Judge Richard Goldstone, which convicts Israel for committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip in January.

Palestinian observers were divided over the reasons behind the PNA request on Friday in Geneva for delaying the vote until March 2010. Some said it was due to an Israeli pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas, while others said only Abbas himself knows the hidden reasons.

PNA officials have not made any official announcement that they would ask for delaying the vote in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), but they defended themselves after it sparked a large-scale Palestinian and Arab condemnation.

"It's mysterious and strange that the Palestinian National Authority asks for postponement of the voting, which clearly convicts Israel, while President Abbas instructed investigation into who was behind such a decision," said As'ad Abu Sharekh, an academic at the Gaza-based al-Azhar university.

He believed that the reason behind the PNA decision "is the Israeli and U.S. pressure on Abbas in order to pave the way for the resumption of the stalled peace process. I think Abbas is paying heavy prices for reviving an illusive peace process."


As soon as Israeli daily Ha'aretz revealed on Friday that Israel's ambassador in Geneva was informed by his Palestinian counterpart that the PNA decided to accept the postponement, Hamas movement, bitter rival of Abbas' Fatah party, led a large campaignof incitement against him.

Ismail Haneya, deposed prime minister of Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, accused Abbas of being behind the direct instructions to the PNA representative in the UNHRC Ibrahim Khreisha to ask for the postponement.

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) is the one who made the decision to postpone the voting upon a pressure exerted by Israel and (Keith) Dayton (U.S. security coordinator between Israel and the PNA). The decision was a strong strike to the efforts to regain unity and achieve reconciliation," said Haneya.

Hazem Ba'lousha, a Palestinian journalist and director of the Palestinian Institution for Communication and Development, told Xinhua that postponing the vote "will be pouring into Hamas' interests, and would exempt it from being a reason behind the Israeli war on Gaza."

Mahmoud Zahar, a member of Hamas politburo, called for taking the Palestinian nationality off Abbas over the PNA's request to postpone the voting.

"I call for working hard on procedures to strip Abbas and everyone who joined him in this crime off the Palestinian nationality," he said.


A senior PNA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused Israel of blowing up "secret and calm understanding reached between the two sides on postponing the voting on Goldstone's report," adding that "Israel carried out this dirty maneuver to weaken Abu Mazen and the Palestinian National Authority."

However, Israel, which was the first to reveal the scandal, defended itself when the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot accused the PNA of trying to escape from its responsibility when President Abbas instructed to investigate the reasons behind.

"Unveiling the secret deal between Israel and the PNA ambassadors through the media had surprised the Palestinian side, which considered it as an attempt to put President Abbas into troubles and project him as a collaborator with Israel on the expense of the Gaza martyrs' blood," the official told Xinhua.

Source: Xinhua
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