IT IS, of course, all the fault of Judge Richard Goldstone. He is to blame for it, as he is to blame for all the other ills that are befalling us now.
He is to blame for the trouble we are having at the UN, both in New York and in Geneva. For the conspiracy to bring our political and military leaders to trial in The Hague. For the ongoing crisis between us and Turkey. For the many initiatives throughout the world to organize a boycott of Israel.
Now he is to blame also for the existential danger facing Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
WHEN THE Goldstone report was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, our government decided to do all it could to prevent even a debate about it.
The debate was, of course, demanded by the Palestinians. When the report was published, the Palestinian representative in Geneva did the obvious: he demanded that the report be debated with a view to submitting it to the Security Council, which in turn would submit it to the international court in The Hague.
What came next could have been foreseen. The Israeli government exerted heavy pressure on the US. The US exerted heavy pressure on Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas gave in and instructed his representative in Geneva to withdraw his request for a debate.
In any other matter, this would have passed quietly. But since the subject was the Gaza War, Palestinian public opinion exploded. Throughout the war, every Palestinian in the West Bank saw on Aljazeera and the other Arab networks every day, every hour, the atrocities of the war, the mangled bodies of women and children, the destroyed schools and mosques, the white phosphorus bombs.
For the Hamas leaders, Abbas' order to withdraw the request was a gift from Allah. They fell over Abbas with unabated fury. "Traitor", "Collaborator", "Subcontractor of the Zionist murderers" were the more moderate epithets. They found an echo with many Palestinians who are not necessarily Hamas supporters.
Abbas' legal standing is shaky. According to one version, his term of office expired long ago. According to another, it will expire in a few months. Whatever the case may be, he will be compelled to hold elections soon. In this situation, he cannot remain indifferent to an upsurge of public opinion against him. So he drew the logical conclusion: he instructed his Geneva representative to renew his request for a debate on the Goldstone report. This ended yesterday with a resolution to refer the report to the UN General Assembly.