A perfect storm is brewing in Palestine. Abbas caves in to US and Israeli pressure on Goldstone, then he claims he didn't know about the delegation decision at the UNHRC, then there was talk from his fellow collaborators that the report was in fact to be taken to the UN security council. Indeed, Abbas has now launched an 'inquiry' into how the decision was arrived at, which is laughable. In a further twist Jonathan Cook reports today on the threat by Israel to prevent the launch of a second mobile network, Wataniya, on the West Bank unless the Goldstone report was dropped.
How to explain all these contortions by Abbas? His deferral has turned into a disaster for the credibility of both Abbas and the Palestinian Authority under his tutelage. But the machinations of Abbas trying to explain his criminal behaviour aside, Libya has stepped up to the plate and requested that the UN security council discuss the report. The request has been accepted. Naturally it will likely only be a discussion as the US will veto any statement or proposal for action against Israel.
Now we can only but guess at exactly what pressure/motivations were driving Abbas, beyond the maintenance of his alliance with the tormenters of the Palestinians - the US and Israel. In fact last night's news has filled in some of the blanks for us it would seem.
The first and most damaging claim against Abbas involves the alleged possession by Israel of a video in which Abbas is sitting with the architects of the Cast Lead war crime urging them on in their destruction and slaughter. The Israelis apparently threatened to release the video to the world unless Abbas moved to sideline the Goldstone report.
Then there is the case of the fabulously wealthy son of Abbas, Yasser Mahmoud. Educated in the US and a Canadian citizen, Yasser Abbas moved to the West Bank in 1997 and sits at the heart of the corruption and greed that is the Palestinian Authority. He hates Hamas, and perhaps all the more so since his monopoly over the import of US cigarettes into the West Bank and Gaza was undermined with the election of Hamas and the subsequent siege. He is estimated to make $35m a year from his tobacco monopoly. Abbas the Younger is very close to the western powers and is known to act as the main conduit between Canada and the PA. He is being groomed by Abbas senior to inherit the throne. Yasser Abbas is undoutedly one of the 'senior advisers' that urged the dropping of the report.
The younger Abbas attracted uncustomary attention to himself this month when he granted a rare interview in Dubai to a reporter from alaswaq.net, a Saudi-owned business website.All of this comes as tension in Jerusalem, and at the al-Aqsa mosque in particular, shows no signs of dissipating, as Israel bans the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, from Jerusalem for 30 days as it floods the city with thousands of armed police and soldiers.
Abbas, former chair of the Canadian-Palestinian Business Council, provided intriguing details about his considerable wealth, denied exploiting family connections to acquire it, railed against the Islamist group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip and freely owned up to being a collaborator with Israel.
He said Palestinians have no choice but to collaborate with Israel, assuming they want to get ahead in the world.
"We have massive amounts of products being exported or imported via Israeli ports," Abbas explained. "They all need the approval of the Israeli customs officer before reaching the Palestinian one.
"Saying that Yasser Abbas deals with the Israeli side is not a scoop. Most Palestinians deal with Israel. As for the rest, they live out in the rain."