Palestinian state proposed | Abbas Under Fire
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- The Oslo Accord, Government Corruption, and a "Road Map" to Peace
- Assassinations, a New Government, and a Temporary Withdrawal
- The Rise of Hamas
- Hamas and Farah Clash
- Attempting Cease-Fire
- Abbas Under Fire
- Palestinian Factions Sign Historic Reconciliation Accord
- Palestine Officially Requests Membership to UN
- Progress for UN Memberships Stalls
- Exploratory Talks with Israel End while Unity Government with Hamas Moves Forward
- Palestinian Authority Marks 19th Oslo Accords Anniversary with Economic Troubles
- Violence Erupts Between Israel and Gaza in November 2012
- UN Approves Non-Member State Status
- Egypt Attempts to Get Hamas and Fatah to Reconcile
- Rami Hamdallah Becomes Prime Minister
- Peace Talks Resume After Five Years
- 2013 Report Supports Theory That Arafat Was Poisoned
- New Unity Government Includes Hamas
- Murders of Israeli and Palestinian Teenagers Increases Tension
- Britain Votes to Recognize Palestine
- Palestine Asks to Join the International Criminal Court
- More Obstacles Emerge for Palestine in 2015
Abbas Under Fire
In Aug. 2009, Fatah held its first party congress in 20 years, on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. More than 2,000 delegates attended from all over the world. The party elected a slate of new blood to the Central Committee, a signal that the party is ready for change and eager to shed its reputation for corruption and cronyism that has weakened the party. Indeed, only four of the 18 delegates on the committee were reelected. New members include Marwan Barghouti, a popular leader who's serving several life terms in an Israeli jail. Former prime minister Ahmed Qurei was not reelected.
In Sept., Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist, released a UN-backed report on the conflict in Gaza. The report accused both the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters of war crimes, alleging that both had targeted civilians. Goldstone, however, reserved much of his criticism for Israel, saying its incursion was a "deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population." Israel denounced the report as "deeply flawed, one-sided and prejudiced." The United States also said it was "unbalanced and biased," and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution that called the report "irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy."
Goldstone recommended that both Israel and the Palestinians launch independent investigations into the conflict. If they refused, Goldstone recommended that the Security Council then refer both to the International Criminal Court. The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution in October that endorsed the report and its recommendation regarding the investigations. In November, the UN General Assembly passed a similar resolution. Both Israel and the U.S. said continued action on the report could further derail the peace process.
Abbas announced in November that he would not seek reelection in January 2010's general and presidential elections, citing the protracted impasse between Israelis and Palestinians and the United States' failure to aggressively take steps toward negotiating a settlement. His poll numbers were on the decline for much of 2009, with militants angered by his ongoing discussions with Israeli defense minister and former prime minister Ehud Barak and his reluctance to use force against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. His popularity hit a new low in October, when he wavered in his response to the UN-backed Goldstone report.
Abbas initially seemed to have caved to a U.S. request that he not pursue further action by the UN in response to the report. Under intense pressure, however, with Hamas accusing him of betrayal, Abbas back-pedaled and said he would push to bring the matter before the Security Council. The U.S. and Israel had warned Abbas that doing so would further derail the peace process.