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In the short term, the U.S. is pushing for a quick resumption of Mideast peace talks, but gaps remain wide on what it takes to get back to the table. A weakened Abbas may not be in a position to make concessions when President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, returns to the region this week.
"This is the worst position that Abbas has found himself in since he was elected president," said Hani al-Masri, a West Bank commentator.
At the center of the uproar is a 575-page U.N. report about Israel's three-week war in Gaza last winter, which alleges that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes, something both sides deny.
The recent UN released report on Gaza, investigated by distinguished South African Justice Richard Goldstone, found overwhelming evidence that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during the conflict and should be held to account in an international tribunal. Goldstone stressed that the culture of impunity endemic in the Middle East must end the targeting of civilians and their infrastructure and the lack of international will to fully investigate the atrocities carried out in the name of “defeating terrorism.”
A World Bank report last year found that as much as 45 per cent of the Palestinian mobile phone market may be in the hands of the Israeli companies. In violation of the Oslo Accords, these firms do not pay taxes to the PA for their commercial activity, losing the Palestinian treasury revenues of up to $60m a year.
Israeli companies also rake off additional surcharges on connections made by Palestinians using Jawwal, including calls between mobile phones and landlines, between the West Bank and Gaza and many within Area C, and international calls.
Israeli and international corporations are directly involved in the occupation: in the construction of Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements’ economy, in building walls and checkpoints, in the supply of specific equipment used in the control and repression of the civilian population under occupation.