PA accuses group of double talk regarding stance on Goldstone report.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday accused Hamas of double talk regarding its stance on the report of the UN fact-finding mission into Operation Cast Lead.Hamas initially said that it regretted the death of Israeli civilians from its rockets, but later backtracked, denying it had made any apology.The initial Hamas response to the UN report said that the movement “feels sorry for what might have happened to any Israeli civilian and hopes that the Israeli civilians will understand that the continued targeting of Hamas by their government is the starting point and the rockets are a poor response.”Hamas’s regret was part of a 55-page report which its representatives delivered to the UN office in the Gaza Strip over the weekend. It came in response to the Goldstone Report’s allegations that Hamas had perpetrated war crimes by targeting Israeli civilians during the three-week IDF offensive.RELATED: Human Rights Watch rejects Israeli report to UNSeveral Hamas representatives on Sunday denied that their movement had apologized for targeting Israeli civilians during the war. The denial came after Hamas’s opponents accused it of double-standards in dealing with the Goldstone Report.“There was no apology or expression of regret,” claimed Hamas’s Minister of Justice, Mohamed al-Ghul. “On the contrary, we held Israeli occupation responsible for for all the crimes that were committed during the war.”Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official and close adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Hamas of “playing with words” and “deception.”Hamas, he charged, “thinks that it’s being very clever when its leaders play with words. They think that this is an element of basic policy, but they don’t know that this method belongs to the Middle Ages and does not earn the movement any respect or recognition.”Abed Rabbo said that Hamas had no reason to be ashamed of backtracking from its mistake.“Hamas must be honest with the international community,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with admitting to making mistakes. This policy of double-talk will only cause further damage to Hamas.”Hamas believes that its initial response to the UN, where it hadexpressed “regret” over the civilian casualties, was leaked to themedia by Fatah with the purpose of embarrassing the movement.One Hamas spokesman pointed a blaming finger at Fatah’s MuhammadDahlan, who previously served as a security commander in the Gaza Stripand is seen as one of the movement’s arch-enemies.Dahlan and Fatah are involved in a campaign aimed at defaming andundermining Hamas, the spokesman said. He said that this was “not thefirst time that Dahlan and his men had distorted Hamas’s position.”The Hamas spokesman claimed that his movement could not have apologizedfor the civilian deaths, “because no civilians were killed in Israelduring the war.”
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