It has been quite apparent even to casual observers of the strange but predictable Middle East Peace Opera that in the last two years Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hasn't done much to help the long suffering Palestinians. Yes, he has whined and grunted and mumbled alot with international reporters, but hasn't done much else. His behavior in the last two months, however, has been so bizarre that it raises an interesting question: Has President Abbas been bribed, bought, and blackmailed by the USA to guarantee his submission to Israel's demands?
For nearly three months Abbas insisted that he will neither negotiate with the Israelis regarding the Road Map for Peace, nor meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York during the UN General Body meeting in September, until Israel halted all construction activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But he suddenly changed his mind, nevertheless, and stood meekly near President Obama and extended his hand to Netanyahu, even though Netanyahu approved the construction of nearly 3000 housing units in the occupied territories.
Then the world heard the news last week about Abbas' inexplicable and bizarre action regarding the Goldstone report on the Gaza War. He should have been happy to read the report's conclusion that Israel might be guilty of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during the war. Instead of asking the UN Human Rights Commission to review and vote on the report and take stern action against Israel, he actually asked the UN Human Rights Commission to delay reviewing the report.
The newspaper Haaretz in Israel reported: "Palestinian Sources told Haaretz that Abbas made the decision to delay the vote immediately after meeting with the Consul General last Thursday, without the knowledge of the PLO leadership or the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and without any consultation." Haaretz stated also that, "Palestinian officials say that there was "heavy and ongoing pressure" from the U.S., which warned that the adoption of the findings in the commission's report would stymie progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians."
Human rights organizations around the world, and also a lot of people concerned with the suffering of Palestinians were deeply shocked at Abbas' behavior. The Palestinian news agency Ma'an has reported that, "In the wake of the uproar, Abbas on Sunday ordered an internal investigation into why his own government ruled to delay the vote." It's quite strange that Abbas acted as if he himself did not know why he asked the UN agency to delay its review of the Goldstone Report.
At first glance his behavior might appear to be bizarre, but on close scrutiny it makes sense. Perhaps there is a good reason and a method to his madness, after all, if you consider this: In the USA it's an open secret that several Senators - both Republican and Democrat - who opposed the national Health Care reform have received huge amounts of cash from the Health Care Organizations and Pharmaceutical Industries. The money given is labeled as Campaign Financing, but in reality it's a form of bribe disguised as campaign contributions. The same process must be at work in the Ramallah offices of Mr. Abbas.
I do not have proof that Mr. Abbas has indeed been bribed, of course. I am only asking a question. But the next time you see Mr. Abbas in a photo or on the TV, if you imagine that you are seeing a studded black leather collar round his neck with a leash attached, his bizarre behavior in the last two months suddenly begins to make sense.
The time to pursue a peace built on a foundation of justice, human rights, and dignity of people and the rule of law has long been over due. In Justice Goldston's words, there is no peace without justice. The belief that accountability and the rule of law can be brushed aside in the pursuit of peace is deeply flawed and misguided. I am certain that President Obama is aware of this basic truth. And yet there have been reports that Secretary of State Clinton - with the consent of President Obama, of course - and the government of the UK, and Egypt's President Mubarak have put intense pressure on Abbas to withdraw Palestinian Authority's support of the UN Goldstone Report. President Obama's and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role in this sad and tragic travesty of justice is unconscienable. Why whip and thrash the entire population of Gaza, a people already groaning in pain from the wounds of the Gaza war?
Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ