The Palestinian Authority made the mistake of participating in the postponement of the Goldstone report which deals with Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza without revealing and clarifying the reasons for this. However does this mistake necessitate the hard-line positions taken by the Hamas movement which is now calling for the Egyptians to postpone inter-Palestinian reconciliation?
The answer is most certainly no.
What the Hamas movement is doing today as a result of the postponement of the Goldstone report is nothing more than escalation, and this clear to anybody who monitors the statements issued by Hamas. The severity of the attacks made by Hamas against the Palestinian Authority have reached an unprecedented level, with [personal] attacks being made against Mahmoud Abbas, and there have been calls for him to have his nationality revoked. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement held rallies of support for Jerusalem [on Friday], and this was followed by a military parade where militants carried a mock coffin of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in protest of the postponement of the discussion on the Goldstone report. There was also talk that if the Palestinian Authority was found to be behind the withdrawal of the Goldstone report, then those responsible should be stoned during the Hajj season [a reference to the Hajj practice known as the stoning of the jamarat].
All of this comes with the attacks made on the Al-Aqsa mosque, particularly the Jewish extremists who attempted to storm the mosque one week ago on the occasion of the Jewish holiday period which begins with the Jewish New Year [Rosh Hashanah] and ends with Yom Kippur. In addition to this, there is the Israeli attempts to throw away this opportunity for peace by derailing US President Barack Obama’s peace efforts, therefore the most important thing that Hamas must do now is move towards achieving inter-Palestinian reconciliation, rather than calling for its postponement.
It is well-known that the Goldstone report condemns Hamas as well as Israel with regards to the Gaza war, and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movement condemned this report when it was first issued, before supporting it later. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum previously stated that “the [Goldstone] report was unjust towards the resistance of the Palestinian people, which is only defending itself, its land, and its holy places.” Another Hamas spokesman, Mushir al-Masri, also previously said “This report is political, unbalanced, unfair, and not objective, as it equates between the victims and the oppressors.”
So why has this report, which as we have already said, condemns both Israel and Hamas – if not equally – and does not condemn the Palestinian Authority at all, been transformed into a sacred report that it is worth postponing inter-Palestinian reconciliation for?
Of course there is no defense for the postponement of the submission of the Goldstone report, especially since the Palestinian Authority failed to even justify the rationale behind this decision. This frustrated many of the international organizations, not just Palestinian or Arab public opinion. However the Palestinian reality, and particularly its internal division, requires prioritizing the Palestinian’s interests and cause, not to mention reducing the damage [caused by this division], particularly as the Palestinian situation as whole has become confusing and questionable on all fronts.
It is clear that Hamas is not interested in either the Goldstone report or reconciliation, as much as it wants to stall the issue of reconciliation which was expected to be achieved in Egypt prior to the end of this month. It is clear that Hamas intends to implement foreign agendas, particularly the Iranian agenda, rather than the Palestinian agenda. Hamas has long ties in the Iranian corner otherwise in what other context can we describe Hamas moving away from inter-Palestinian reconciliation, and its calls to postpone these talks?