Gary Willig

What does Abbas have to do?

What does Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have to do to convince his international supporters that he is neither a moderate nor a man of peace?

He has already stayed in office for six years after his term as president expired.

He has already cracked down on and imprisoned Palestinian journalists who are critical of him.

He has already presided over one of the most corrupt kleptocracies on earth.

He has already honored terrorists and murderers by naming schools and parks after them.

He has already funded terrorists by paying them millions upon millions of dollars. The more heinous the crime, the more money they receive.

All of this has been ignored for years by the US government, the EU, and the UN, who all continue to treat Abbas as a hero and the world’s only hope for peace. The leftist media also continues to fawn over him and rarely questions any of his assertions, no matter how outlandish. Even the Israeli government has been relatively muted in its criticism of Abbas.

Without ever suffering any negative repercussions for his words and deeds, Abbas has doubled down on his extremism and his incitement to murder in recent weeks.

It began with his pernicious lies about the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Arab leaders have used lies about Jewish designs on the Mount and the Mosques that stand atop it since the 1920s. And every single time an Arab leader has lied about a Jewish ‘threat’ to al Aqsa in the last century what they really meant was ‘go kill Jews.’

Abbas has to know the history of this charge. He knows how the same lies instigated the 1929 Hebron Massacre and many other murderous attacks against innocent Jewish men, women, and children. But he repeated the charge anyway, using language so Antisemitic that there is no doubt about his bigotry. “They have no right to desecrate them (the al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) with their filthy feet.” he said.

No one in the international community called Abbas out on his blatant racism. The same people who jump on every little thing Prime Minister Netanyahu does or says that in the slightest way hints that he may not believe in a two state solution do not care that Netanyahu’s supposed partner is an outright Antisemite.

Abbas did not stop with racist depictions of Jews. In the same speech where he spoke of ‘filthy Jewish feet’ he also said that “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem.”

Is it any wonder that violence followed? The Arab street understood Abbas’ words as a call to murder Jews, and now Jewish civilians are being attacked every day in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel.

Abbas has called for an end to the violence, specifically because he says that it ‘plays into Israel’s hands’ and not because it is wrong in and of itself. But he continues to peddle the same lies that caused the current outbreak of violence and to praise the ‘defenders of al Aqsa’ for their actions in attacking Jews. Meanwhile his government-run media has been enthusiastic in its support of the murders of Israelis.

And still there is silence about Abbas’ role in the current outbreak of terror. The US government issues a weak and generic call for an end to incitement by both sides. UN Secretary General Ban Bi Moon has stated that he is worried about the recent deaths of Palestinians, despite the fact that many of those killed were involved in acts of murder or attempted murder at the moment of their deaths. He does not share the same concern for the innocent Israelis killed. The UK says that it is worried that Israel is using too much force in defending its citizens’ lives. And the media, from the New York Times in America to The Independent in Britain, continues to highlight the deaths of the terrorists and murderers over those of their victims.

What does Abbas have to do to get the world to see him for what he really his. No amount of oppression of his own people will convince, nor will any racist statements or his incitement to murder.

Does Abbas have to personally pick up a knife and a gun and go on his own killing spree in order to get those in the international community who worship him to say ‘hmm, maybe this guy isn’t such an angel after all?’

At this point, I have my doubts that even that would convince anyone that Abbas isn’t the last, best hope for peace.

About the Author
Gary Willig is a researcher at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a student of communications at Bar Ilan University