Zahar: Palmer report biased against Palestinians, Turks

Hamas leader, along with other Palestinian officials across political spectrum, welcomes Turkey’s decision to expel Israeli ambassador.

September 3, 2011 18:28
2 minute read.
Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar

Mahmoud al-Zahar smirking (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Palestinians across the political spectrum over the weekend welcomed Ankara’s decision to expel the Israeli ambassador and to freeze security pacts with Israel.

Many Palestinians also voiced hope that Jordan and Egypt, the only Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel, would follow the Turkish example and cut off all relations with Israel.

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The Palestinians, on the other hand, expressed disappointment over a UN report that justified the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said that the report was the “result of American and Israeli pressure” on the UN.

“This report is clearly biased against the Palestinians and the Turkish people,” he said, referring to the UN Commission report into the flotilla incident headed by Geoffrey Palmer, former prime minister of New Zealand.

“A country that allows its citizens to be killed like the Turks who were killed on the flotilla, and maintains its relations with the killers, risks losing its credibility among the people,” Zahar said. “It’s only logical that Turkey expel the Israeli ambassador and cut off its relations with the Zionist entity.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the decision was a “natural response to the Israeli crime against the flotilla and refusal to end the siege on the Gaza Strip.”

The Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip also welcomed the decision and hailed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his continued support for the Palestinians. Turkey was today a major ally of the Palestinians, the PRC said.

Another group, Ansar al- Mujahedeen (Supporters of the Warriors), called on Ankara to completely cut off diplomatic relations with Israel and restore its status as a major player in the region.

Weam Matar, a political analyst, said: “Thank you Turkey, thank you, Erdogan, for refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the siege on the Gaza Strip. The Zionists are not used to such firm positions and that’s why they have considered themselves above the law."

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Palestinian daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, said that that “this was the first time in decades that an Islamic country dares to confront Israeli arrogance with such force and firmness.”

Israel “considers itself a superpower with immunity against international sanctions. That’s why it has been treating the Arabs and Muslims with disdain,” he said.

Echoing the position of many other Palestinians, Atwan urged Egypt and Jordan to follow suit and cut off all relations with Israel.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the UN report as political, AFP reported on Saturday.

“This report is terrible and negative. It’s a purely political report, it’s not legal,” Erekat said. “It’s a political report that is not based on international law, but on the contrary, it violates international law, because the Gaza Strip is still under Israeli occupation,” he told AFP.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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