October 6, 2009
Ma’ariv (p. 5) by Amit Cohen et al. — A Palestinian press agency claims that the surprising decision by Palestinian Authority officials to postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council is the result of an Israeli threat.
According to a report by Shihab, the Palestinian Authority refused Israel’s demand that it withdraw its support for the harsh report, which Israel considered one-sided. Following this, Israeli figures showed the PA a series of tapes in which Palestinian Authority officials could be heard urging Israel to continue the operation in Gaza. Israel threatened to reveal the material to media outlets as well as to the UN and this, in turn, resulted in the Palestinian retreat. It was further claimed that the Palestinians were shown footage showing a meeting between Abu Mazen, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and then foreign minister Tzippi Livni. In the course of the meeting, according to the report, Abu Mazen attempted to convince Barak to continue the operation. Barak appeared hesitant whereas Abu Mazen was enthusiastic.
In addition, a telephone conversation recording between Abed Al-Rahim, secretary general of the Palestinian Authority and director of Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s bureau was presented. The Palestinian senior official can be heard saying that now is the time to bring ground forces into the Jabalya and Shati refugee camps. “The fall of these two camps will bring about the fall of the Hamas regime in Gaza, and will cause them to wave a white flag,” says Abed Al-Rahim.
According to the report, Dov Weissglas told Abed Al-Rahim that such a move could result in the deaths of thousands of civilians. “They all voted for Hamas,” says Abed Al-Rahim, “they chose their fate, not us.”
Following Hamas’s allegations against him, Abu Mazen ordered the establishment of an investigative committee to examine the cause for the postponement of the discussion of the Goldstone report, which sparked a furor and much criticism in the Palestinian street.
Officially, Israel argues that Abu Mazen withdrew his request for the discussion as a result of Netanyahu making it clear that such a move would greatly harm the peace process. Moreover, Israel prefers to keep quiet since it has no desire to harm Abu Mazen any more than he has already been harmed and thus play into Hamas’s hands. “Abu Mazen did the correct thing on his part,” says a political source. “Had he insisted on pushing through the proposal, he would have badly harmed the peace process.”
In addition, the Palestinian Authority has attempted over the last year to establish an additional cellular network in the West Bank—Wataniya, to be directed by Abu Mazen’s son. “The IDF had opposed the new cellular network, claiming that this would clash with its frequencies, and it was proposed to the Palestinians the minimum frequency allocation, which the Palestinians did not accept,” explained a senior security source. “It would be fairly correct to state that it was hinted to Palestinian senior officials that if they would withdraw their endorsement of the Goldstone report, they would get help in promoting their interests to form a second cellular network in the West Bank.” […]