Hamas’ Felesteen, November 7, 2009
Entitled ["Mahmoud Abbas achieved] No results,” the shoes ("The Goldstone Report” and
"The settlements”) are too big for Mahmoud Abbas (Hamas’ Felesteen, November 7, 2009).
1. Hamas spokesman were quick to praise the UN General Assembly decision to endorse the Arab countries’ draft proposal of the Goldstone Report on November 5.
2. The three main points prominent in Hamas statements were the following:
i Presenting the decision as condemnation of Israel and was an achievement for the Palestinians: Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the decision was an important achievement for Hamas, and the first time Israel was widely condemned by the international community for so-called "war crimes” (BBC in Arabic, November 6, 2009). Muhammad Nizal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said that the General Assembly’s ratification of the Report was "support for the Palestinian cause, justice and human rights” (Radio Damascus, November 6, 2009).
ii Hamas is not worried by the demand that the Palestinians also conduct an investigation of their conduct during Operation Cast Lead: That is because the Palestinians were the "victims” against whom the so-called "crimes” were committed (and therefore by implication are the accusers and not the accused). Hamas is not worried by Israel’s accusations of its using civilians as human shields during Operation Cast Lead because the Goldstone Report made its accusations against Israel and not Hamas. Hamas is also not accused of launching rockets into Israeli territory because the Goldstone Report referred to the "resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] in general, and not Hamas (Sami Abu Zuhri interviewed by the BBC in Arabic, November 6, 2009).
iii The de facto Hamas administration is getting ready to conduct its "investigation:” Hamas has formed an "official committee” composed of a number of ministers and experts, which will operate in consultation with local and international "human rights experts” (Sami Abu Zuhri interviewed by the BBC, November 6, 2009).
3. De facto Hamas administration spokesman Taher al-Nunu said that the General Assembly’s decision would lead to legal action which would in turn lead to the Israeli leadership’s ("the leadership of the occupation) being brought to trial for so-called "war crimes.” He said the "battle” was not over and that Hamas would continue its contacts with the Arab and Muslim countries to bring the "leadership of the occupation” to trial in every country where it was allowed by law (Al-Quds TV, November 6, 2009). Muhammad Nizal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, also said that the decision of the General Assembly was an important step on the way to bringing both the political and military "Israeli criminals and terrorists” to trial (Radio Damascus, November 6, 2009). Riyad Mansour, representative of the Palestinian Authority, said that following the decision of the General Assembly a practical process would begin which would end only when the "Israeli criminals” who had committed "war crimes” during Operation Cast Lead were brought to trial (Press TV, Iran, November 6, 2009).
4. Hamas’ satisfaction comes from the great propaganda potential inherent in the Goldstone Report and its adoption by the General Assembly. In the eyes of Hamas, it is likely to lead to a long, drawn-out process of trying senior Israeli figures in both the government and IDF for "war crimes” in various courts, thereby tying Israel’s hands, both politically and militarily. In addition, the continued dealing with the Report may lead to international recognition of the legitimacy of the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip since it is the Palestinian side conducting the "investigation” required by the Goldstone Report, weakening the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas..
5. Hamas is also making extensive propaganda capital from the fact that the Goldstone Report does not hold it responsible for firing rockets into Israeli territory and ignores the use it made of civilians as human shields.1 Both are weaknesses in the Report which enable Hamas to avoid responsibility for long years of attacking Israel with rockets and carrying out other terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip (suicide bombing attacks, shooting and other attacks, the abduction of an IDF soldier and attacks at the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip), and for using civilians as human shields, among other crimes.
6. Thus it is no wonder Hamas is willing to perform an "internal investigation” of its own as required by the Goldstone Report. Its objective is to make propaganda capital by meeting the Report’s requirements, because in any case it has not been found responsible for firing rockets or using civilians as human shields, thus it has no need to defend itself. In addition, establishing a committee to investigate has other political and propaganda advantages, particularly recognition by the UN and perhaps even by the international community of the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip (at the expense of the Palestinian Authority) as the political representation of the Palestinians.
1 Hamas spokesmen repeatedly claim that the Goldstone Report does not accuse Hamas of responsibility for rocket fire but rather places the blame on "Palestinian armed groups” in general (as stated for example by Musa Abu Marzuk, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on October 16, 2009).