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Netanyahu Leans on Abbas and Mishal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Whilst Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and [head of the Hamas politburo] Khaled Mishal exchanged accusations and insults, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leant on both of them to stand before the Israeli Knesset where he pledged to counter the Goldstone report and not allow any charges to be brought against any Israeli [military] leader at the Hague.

Hamas – that had been attacking the report and believed that its author was just a Jew who wanted to serve Israel – now sees that the Goldstone report is a good opportunity [for Hamas] and represents one stone with which it could kill a number of birds, not just one. Firstly, it could help wipe Hamas’ slate clean and tarnish Abbas’ reputation and secondly it could help Hamas free itself of [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation that was meant to be rounded up in Cairo. Lastly, Hamas could rid itself of the charges of acting reckless in Gaza leading to the war with Israel in which around 1400 Palestinians were killed.

As usual, Hamas found a media machine ready to propagate it and it is modeled after the Muslim Brotherhood media whether in Egypt or the Gulf states including channels, newspapers and media figures, not to mention support from the Iranian media. But the following question still stands: who is benefiting from all this? Who is benefiting from the inter-Palestinian conflict?

Of course the one beneficiary is Israel. This is why we say that Netanyahu leant on Abbas and Mishal to stand before the Knesset and Israeli public opinion as a leader defending his country. If the Palestinians, Hamas in particular, accepted Palestinian reconciliation in Egypt, despite the postponement of the Goldstone report, then that would have been more beneficial and fruitful. If they returned from Cairo with their internal problems solved and their political cards in order, and tried to activate the Goldstone report together once again – which is not even expected to pass in the United Nations – then that would have been more successful for disconcerting the Israelis and increasing pressure on Netanyahu and the US Envoy.

Instead, however, Hamas decided to make a clearly opportunistic move, as it exploited the postponement of the Goldstone report in order to free itself of the Palestinian reconciliation issue and to weaken the cause as much as possible and to continue to prolong the suffering of the Gazan people. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas’ fatal error was that he acted alone without consulting [others] or protecting the process of postponing the report and if he had every logical reason politically to do so, the fatal error was that he forgot or ignored the fact that he is dealing with Hamas. Hamas is a mob-like movement that is ignorant of political action and follows agendas known to exploit the Palestinian cause in order to achieve personal interests. Even if Hamas attacked the Goldstone report in the past, it will go back to attacking Mahmoud Abbas for postponing it and this is what Mahmoud Abbas should have remembered and paid attention to.

It doesn’t matter whether or not Mahmoud Abbas is a trustworthy man; what’s more important is that Abbas and his advisors realize that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Therefore the mistake committed by the Palestinians, all together, is a major one committed against themselves and their cause. Regrettably, the Palestinian leaders, whether part of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, are yet to take notice of the fact that there is a state of resentment – and this is an understatement – in the Arab world towards the Palestinian situation. In fact the questions being asked in this regard are: do those people deserve all these efforts, finances and sacrifices?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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