The political bureau chairman of Hamas, Khalid Mashaal, says the acting Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas, is unfit and ineligible to lead the Palestinian nation.
During a speech in Damascus on Sunday evening, Mashaal referred to Mahmoud Abbas as “an illegitimate leader” whose tenure came to an end in January 2009.
The political leader of Hamas meanwhile made references to the Goldstone Report, saying that all those responsible for any sort of delay in voting on the report should be held accountable.
A United Nations inquiry, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, detailed what investigators called Israeli actions “amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity,” during Israel’s winter offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza.
“For the first time an international report is condemning Israel for its aggression on the Palestinians. A Palestinian group, however, objected to the report; protected Israel and saved it from international condemnation,” Mashaal underlined.
The 575-page report by Goldstone and three other investigators asserts seven incidents in which Palestinian civilians were shot while leaving their homes, trying to run for safety or waving white flags. The report says Israel targeted a mosque at prayer time, killing 15 people, and shelled a Gaza City house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to assemble. These attacks constituted as war crimes, the report says.
The probe also found that Israel violated international humanitarian law in several ways. Dozens of Palestinian policemen were killed at the start of the Gaza onslaught when Israel bombed their stations. The security agents were not involved in the hostilities and should have been treated as civilians. Palestinians, in addition, were used as human shields and were forced to walk ahead of the Israeli soldiers who were searching civilian neighborhoods.
Thousands of Palestinians were killed during three weeks of Israel’s land, sea and air assault, during Operation Cast Lead, in the impoverished coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted USD 1.6 billion of damage upon Gaza’s economy.