Abbas takes credit for UN success, slams Hamas at first party meeting 17Oct09 October 18, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  17 October 200975531

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the opening speech at the first session of the newly-elected Fatah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah on Friday, the council was elected in August, during the sixth Fatah congress in Bethlehem.

The session, under the title “Gaza Martyrs,” is scheduled to run from 16-19 October. Delegates are expected to discuss rival party Hamas’ Friday decision to sign the Egyptian reconciliation plan agreement, as well as plans around the transfer of the Goldstone report to the UN General Assembly.

Also on the table are amendments to the internal system of the party and follow-up discussion of issues raised at the Bethlehem congress.

Speaking to the assembled delegates, Abbas called the endorsement of the Goldstone report by the UN Human Rights Council “a just judgment to the victims of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people as a whole.” He gave credit for the result to the “huge efforts” of the Palestinian Authority, and said efforts would continue until the decision is implemented by other international bodies.

Fallout within the party was severe following the decision by Palestinian leadership to drop the report from September’s UN HRC agenda, preferring to postpone discussion to March 2010. Many Fatah leaders were quick to distance themselves from what was widely perceived to be Abbas’ decision to fold to US government demands to place the beleaguered peace process over pursuit of war crimes trials for Israeli leadership for the more than 1,400 Gazan dead of that country’s Operation Cast Lead.

On Hamas

The Palestinian president had harsh words for Hamas and the Gaza Strip government, placing the blame for the Gaza war and the subsequent suffering of Gazan civilians squarely on their shoulders.

“I had warned Hamas through Palestinian Authority leaders that Israel might wage war on the Gaza Strip,” Abbas told delegates, “and I advised Hamas leaders to renew the ceasefire [in November]. However, they did not pay attention to our advice which we reiterated through the Syrian president Bashar Al-Asad.”

Abbas went on to say the Hamas leadership had at one point declared that ‘even if the whole Gaza Strip was demolished, projectiles launched towards Israeli towns could not be stopped.’ He said statements like these left Gazans to face “Israeli aggression” alone. “They kept accusing us of compliance while their leaders fled Gaza to Egypt in ambulances,” Abbas said.  He cited no particular example, in a statement that echoed his earlier statement in Jenin on Tuesday.

“We are proud of our nationalistic history and our firmness which make us support our people in the Gaza Strip. If Hamas cared about the Gaza Strip, they would not have let thousands of house be demolished leaving our people in the open,” Abbas concluded.

Electing a new secretary

Following the opening speeches, the council elected Amin Maqboul as the council’s new secretary. Two deputy secretaries were also elected, Sabri Saydam, and Amal Hamad.

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