Everyone knows that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas differs much from his predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat, in his method of managing crises. This prompted President Abbas many times to go into isolation and sometimes threaten to resign because he could bear internal and external pressures.
Had Abu-Ammar [Yasser Arafat] been alive and had he come under such a publicity attack over the Goldstone report, he would have rushed to deny and denounce and may have used someone as a scapegoat. And before doing that, he may have sought to appease the figures who lost in the past PLO elections, disregarding the true results in order to ensure that the losers, such as Nabil Amr, would not turn against him, support Hamas, and attack him.
One of the shortcomings of Abu-Mazin [President Abbas] is that he is less flexible and bargains less. Surely, he is not a political player who maneuvers right and left to avoid attacks. Rather, he sits in the middle making himself an easy target.
The Goldstone report was used against him by both his comrades and opponents alike, and they all sought to settle their accounts.
The funny thing is that Hamas, which used the dirtiest expressions against the Palestinian president because he agreed to postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report, is itself the party that rejected and attacked the report, considering it a Jewish conspiracy by Jewish Goldstone.
From Hamas’s viewpoint, Abu-Mazin suddenly became a traitor and agent, his nationality should be withdrawn, and he must be tried because he agreed to postpone the discussion of the report.
Hamas has been playing the game of distortion against the PA leadership since 2005, and it made this game the primary goal in its political project.
Hamas steps up the campaigns against Abu-Mazin and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad because it knows very well that the government’s performance in the West Bank is the best in the history of the Palestinian leadership in terms of its fairness and commitments toward its Palestinian citizens.
Historically, it has been a very familiar practice for Palestinian parties to exchange accusations to a point where each party accuses the other of being an agent. This practice is part of verbal exchanges and political frivolity.
In the past, leftist Palestinian groups, and Hamas afterward, accused Abu-Ammar of selling the cause. Earlier, “revolutionary” Fatah bragged about killing Palestinian officials on the pretext of treachery. In fact, all of these moves were domestic or regional political disputes that had nothing to do with Israel whatsoever.
In spite of what Abu-Mazin went through, no one at all observed that he ever used the method of liquidations, even when his men were killed when Hamas seized the entire Gaza Strip by force in a bloody street war between brothers and even when a Hamas cell was arrested as it sought to assassinate Abu-Mazin in Ramallah afterward. But this does not make him a president without mistakes.
Anyway, what is currently taking place is an organized onslaught on the PA over an invented case. The Goldstone report is not worth the ink in which it was written. At best, if the report is discussed, which is unlikely, it will be submitted to the UN Security Council where it will be revoked by a veto. Besides, the report itself incriminates Hamas in the recent war and says it too committed war crimes.
Very regrettably, what we see is a serious decline in Palestinian politicians’ ethics. This decline weakens them and will make them lose a precious opportunity in the regional and international political climate that might strengthen their negotiating position, which is one million times more important than the Goldstone report and verbal heroisms.