Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Can it be true? More Goldstone

The Palestinian Authority dropped its insistence on a UN vote endorsing the Goldstone report after being blackmailed by Israeli representatives in the US, according to the Shehab news agency.

It says the Israelis have a video showing Mahmoud Abbas and Tzipi Livni urging Ehud Barak to pursue the military assault on Gaza.

It was shown to a Palestinian delegation in Washington on a laptop belonging to Colonel Ely Abraham of the IDF causing them to give way on Goldstone, Shehab says.

There is also allegedly an audio tape of a phonecall between Dov Weisglass and Tayyeb Abdul Rahim in which Abdul Rahim urges the Israelis to storm Jabaliya and Shati refugee camps in Gaza in order to route Hamas once and for all.

Weisglass is heard bemoaning the fate of thousands of civilians in the camps if the troops moved in, to which Abdul Rahim is reported to have replied: “They all voted for Hamas and they chose their destiny not us.”

Threatened with publication of such incriminating evidence of collaboration with Israel, Shehab says the PA representatives signed an undertaking not to lobby other countries to adopt the Goldstone report.

Another theory doing the rounds suggests Israel threatened to derail the Wataniya project to start up a second mobile phone network in the West Bank, if the PA persisted in using Goldstone to seek war crimes charges against Israel. Abbas’s son stands to make millions from the deal.

None of this is doing the PA or Abu Mazen's battered reputations any good.

It is not hard to imagine his Fatah faction seeing a silver lining in Israel's Operation Cast Lead, in much the same way that some Sunni Arab governments did as the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah - along with all of Lebanon - was being thumped by Israel in the summer of 2006. But egging the Israel defence minister on, somewhere he could be secretly filmed, as Palestinians were being slaughtered? It would require a naivety even beyond Abu Mazen.

As for the Abdul Rahim-Weisglass tale, at least it's a bit longer on the specifics, an actual situation on the ground, a direct quote. But why should that conversation ever have even taken place? The Israelis never had any intention of penetrating the Gaza camps. Cast Lead was always meant to be a "no casualty" war for them so they took places like Tel el-Hawa and Zeitoun. So what would someone even as unsavoury as Abdul Rahim be doing discussing this question with the equally unsavoury Weisglas. Israeli politicians have been hinting at PA collusion in the Gaza attacks, but this kind of stuff is way off the mark.

Anyway, watch this space, as this can only grind on and on.

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