After 1,400 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli campaign last winter, an increasing number of Eastern Michigan University students began decorating their throats with the traditional checkered keffiyeh. However, this trend is more likely an attempt to imitate Lil Wayne than it is a show of support.
Though featuring prominently in the international media, questions of Israel’s intent and practices during the Gaza offensive have been mostly left out of the American mainstream. Rumors of war crimes have been circulating ever since Israel reopened itself to the press at the end of the fighting. Still, the alleged use of white phosphorus, civilian human shields and terror tactics against Gazan women and children have only really appeared on the more obnoxious Liberal outlets.
Given the relative lack of press, one would think the Palestinians would jump at the chance to bring their newest tragedy into public view. Just such an opportunity presented itself in the form of a damning 574 page review, commissioned by the U.N. and conducted by a respected Jewish judge named Richard Goldstone. But when the golden ticket appeared, the Palestinian Authority shocked everyone by declining to take advantage.
Goldstone’s reputation, which he cultivated as chief U.N. prosecutor of Yugoslavia and Rwanda, could’ve done wonders to highlight the struggle of the Palestinians and lend credibility to their indignant cries.
So what exactly was the problem? It’s not as though the Palestinian Authority has never used world sympathy as a weapon in the past.
Al Jazeera cites pressure from the U.S. as reason for the rejection. Apparently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday Oct. 1 and urged him to renounce the findings of the U.N. report.
A generous explanation for the pressure would be that such revelations might harm the possibility of peace talks.
Another approach is the U.S. is playing its historic role as public relations person and enabler to Israel’s shenanigans.
Either way, the Palestinian Authority lost a weak but ready bargaining chip against an adversary that refuses even to halt settlement construction on Palestinian land.