By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
A Palestinian “court” in the Gaza Strip on Monday found Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas guilty of high treason and sentenced him to life in prison.
Hamas supporters burn posters…
Abbas was convicted because of his decision to withdraw a resolution to the UN Human Rights Council concerning the findings of the Goldstone fact-finding mission into Operation Cast Lead.
Abbas’s controversial decision has sparked a wave of unprecedented denunciations in the PA territories and throughout the Arab and Islamic countries.
Abbas was sentenced during a mock trial organized by the Palestinian Children’s Forum in Rafah under the auspices of Hamas.
The “trial” is seen as yet another sign of growing tensions between Hamas and Fatah over the decision to ditch the resolution.
The two parties were supposed to sign a “reconciliation accord” in Cairo next week. However, the signing ceremony has been postponed until further notice after Hamas announced that it would not sign any deal with Abbas.
At Monday’s “court” session, a handcuffed actor playing the role of Abbas was escorted into the courtroom by two children in police uniform.
The “prosecutor” told the court that Abbas had withdrawn the resolution despite the fact that it had won the backing of 33 countries.
The “prosecutor” said that by dumping a resolution that would have indicted Israel for allegedly perpetrating war crimes in the Gaza Strip, Abbas had violated the Palestinian basic law and acted against the national interests of his people.
The “defendant” told the “court” that Israeli and American pressure, as well as his need for a frequency to launch a new cellular company in the PA territories, was behind his decision.
The “defendant” was referring to allegations that his decision to abandon the motion at the UN Human Rights Council was aimed at appeasing Israel so that it would release a frequency for the new company, called Al-Wataniya.
The “defendant” told the “court” that since the PA was not a full member of the Human Rights Council, the resolution had been presented through Pakistan. He claimed that it was Pakistan, and not the PA, that withdrew the motion.
The Pakistani “envoy” who was summoned to testify before the court presented a document signed by the PA envoy to the UN, Ibrahim Khraishi, allegedly requesting the deferral of the vote over the resolution until March 2010.
An actor representing Khraishi announced that he took the decision after receiving a phone call from chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat.
The PA “envoy” said he was “shocked” when he received the order to withdraw the resolution. He said that to avoid confusion, he asked for a written statement from Abbas’s office, which was later sent to him by fax from the Mukata “presidential” compound in Ramallah.
A child representing the victims of Operation Cast Lead told the “judges” about the suffering of the families and accused Abbas of betraying the “blood of the martyrs.” At the end of the session, the “court” found Abbas guilty of all charges and sentenced him to life imprisonment and stripped him of all his authorities, deeming him unfit to rule.