Mahmoud Abbas Justifies Arab Terror in UN General Assembly Speech

[Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi]

Summary ... Mahmoud Abbas's speech to the UN General Assembly reflects the political reality that there is no PA/PLO partner today for a settlement with Israel based on compromise. Abbas has revealed its open support for terror as a legitimate tactic. While charging Israel with genocide and responsibility for the Islamist terrorism sweeping the region, he never mentioned Hamas terrorism or the thousands of rockets fired at Israel's cities from Gaza. Abbas promised to "maintain the traditions of our national struggle established by the Palestinian [Fatah] fedayeen" as far back as 1965.

On September 26, 2014, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) gave a speech to the UN General Assembly that once again revealed his radical positions on terror and the peace process.

Abbas only used the phrase "state of Israel" once while calling Israel "the occupying state" five times, including two uses of the phrase "settlement occupation state" and two uses of "racist occupying state." He used the word occupation (or "settlement occupation" or "racist occupation") an additional 23 times, usually as a synonym for "state of Israel."

Abbas portrayed Israel as the apex of human evil and as the wellspring of terror, incitement, hatred, and the Islamic radicalism that is sweeping the Middle East and the world at large.

Abbas accused Israel of a "new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian [sic] people ... the third war waged by the racist occupying state in five years," and of planning another nakba (mass expulsion of Palestinians). He made no mention at all of terror attacks and the firing of thousands of rockets from Gaza at Israeli cities, strategic facilities, and its international airport.

Abbas denied any Israeli right to self-defense and justified the warfare and terror attacks of Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations, declaring that "the Palestinian people hold steadfast to their legitimate right to defend themselves against the Israeli war machine and to their legitimate right to resist this colonial, racist Israeli occupation."

"War Crimes" and "Racism"

Abbas demanded that Israel pay the full price for its "war crimes" while directing no such demand at the Palestinian terror organizations (including Fatah, which he heads) for firing rockets at Israeli civilian communities. "Yet," he said, "we believe — and hope — that no one is trying to aid the occupation this time in its impunity or its attempts to evade accountability for its crimes."

Abbas also accused Israel of systematically derailing any possibility of peace with a long list of measures including settlement building, land confiscation, home destructions, massacres and mass arrests, forceful expulsion of Palestinians from their West Bank [sic] homes, tightening the "unjust" blockade on Gaza, trying to change the nature of Jerusalem with an emphasis on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and "criminal" activity of "racist and armed gangs of settlers."

Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations
PA/PLO President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations

Israel, in Abbas' words, is cultivating "a culture of racism, incitement and hatred [as] glaringly manifested in the despicable, appalling crime committed months ago by fascist settlers, who abducted the young Jerusalemite boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir, burnt him alive and killed him. We hope that this will remind you of something in history." In that last sentence Abbas hinted at the Holocaust.

Abbas completely ignored the wall-to-wall condemnation of the murder in Israel along with the capture and arraignment of the suspects. This stands in stark contrast to the Palestinian Authority's systematic failure to arrest or charge the perpetrators of terror attacks against Jews, while glorifying Palestinian terrorists and granting them lifelong economic security.

Praise for Terror and "Political Prisoners"

Praise for terror is a constant motif in Abbas's speeches, and in his latest UN speech he again referred to all Palestinian terrorists whom Israel has prosecuted for murder or attempted murder as "political prisoners," and declared that the Palestinian Authority demands their immediate release.

Indeed, Abbas does not view Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis — from stabbings to suicide bombings — as war crimes but as part of a legitimate struggle that comports with international law.

As he put it:

At the same time, I affirm that our grief, trauma and anger will not for one moment make us abandon our humanity, our values, band our ethics; we will always maintain our respect and commitment to international law, international humanitarian law and the international consensus, and we will maintain the traditions of our national struggle established by the Palestinian fedayeen and to which we committed ourselves since the onset of the Palestinian revolution in early 1965.

Abbas was thereby referring to the first Fatah terror attack on Israel, an attempted bombing of the national water carrier, on January 1, 1965. Thus, he justified all aspects of the armed struggle that Palestinian terror organizations have been waging ever since.

Abbas attributed terror and the roots of terror to Israel, which, he says, was established in 1948 by expelling innocent and peaceful Palestinians from their homes [when, in fact, it was the Arab leaders who told the people to leave until they defeated Israel; then they could return.—ed]. Apart from the gross distortion of history and the obfuscation of Palestinian and Arab terror, Abbas pinned the blame for the phenomenon of Islamic terror, as recently manifested by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, on Israel.

As he declared:

We, and all the Arab countries, have constantly cautioned about the disastrous consequences of the continuation of the Israeli occupation and the denial of freedom and independence for the people of Palestine. We have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that allowing Israel to act as a state above the law with impunity and absolving it of any accountability or punishment for its policies, aggression and defiance of the international will and legitimacy have absolutely provided fertile ground and an environment conducive for the growth of extremism, hatred and terrorism in our region.

Confronting the terrorism that plagues our region by groups — such as "ISIL" and others that have no basis whatsoever in the tolerant Islamic religion or with humanity ... requires much more than military confrontation. What is primarily needed is a comprehensive, credible strategy to dry out the sources of terrorism .... It requires the creation of solid foundations for a reasonable consensus that makes the fight against all forms of terrorism in any place everywhere a collective task .... It requires, in this context and as a priority, bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of our country, which constitutes in its practices and perpetuation, an abhorrent form of state terrorism and a breeding ground for incitement, tension and hatred.

After denying both the existence of Palestinian terror and the Israeli right to self-defense, Abbas said that "Palestine refuses to have the right to freedom of her people ... remain hostage to Israel's security conditions."

Not only does Abbas fail to recognize Israel's security needs, he also claims that it is the Palestinians "who are subjected to the terrorism by the racist occupying Power and its settlers" and who "are actually the ones who need immediate international protection ...."

In the speech Abbas also presented his vision for peace:

We want ... a sovereign and independent State living in peace and building bridges of mutual cooperation with its neighbors; that respects commitments, obligations and agreements; that strengthens the values of citizenship, equality, non-discrimination, the rule of law, human rights and pluralism; that deepens the Palestinian enlightened traditions of tolerance, coexistence and non-exclusion; that strengthens the culture of peace; that promotes the role of women; that establishes effective administration committed to the standards of good governance ....

It is impossible, and I repeat — it is impossible — to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question. There is neither credibility nor seriousness in negotiations in which Israel predetermines the results via its settlement activities and the occupation's brutality. There is no meaning or value in negotiations for which the agreed objective is not ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.

We reaffirm ... our commitment to achieve a just peace through a negotiated solution .... a lasting solution and a just peace ....

[This means] ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-State solution, of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the state of Israel and reaching a just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194, with a specific time frame for the implementation of these objectives as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative. This will be linked to the immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel to demarcate the borders, reach a detailed and comprehensive agreement and draft a peace treaty between them.

Abbas' vision of peace does not indicate any real intention to reach a historic compromise with Israel on dividing the land into two states that would live peacefully side by side. He called for a political agreement via negotiations, but stipulated the results of the negotiations as a precondition for holding them. Moreover, Abbas lauded the Palestinian Authority's formation of a unity government with Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations, even though it does not signal that the terror organizations have accepted the diplomatic route but, instead, that Abbas has gone in their direction.

Hamas wields complete control of Gaza and in recent months also tried to overthrow Abbas' regime in the West Bank, a plan the Israeli security services managed to foil. Hamas' military power and popularity in the Palestinian street, including the West Bank, constitutes veto power over any political settlement based on recognizing Israel and/or a political compromise of any kind.

Abbas wants the world to think he is taking a constructive political position. In actuality, he is merely reiterating the "just peace" formula and rejecting the Israeli "peace through compromise" formula. ["A just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194."] The "just peace" formula means uncompromising insistence on what the Palestinians call the "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees and generations of their descendants to Israel itself. That, in turn, means forcing Israel to take in five to seven million Palestinians while ejecting millions of Jews from their communities so that the Palestinians can move in. In other words, the "just peace" formula is a prescription for putting an end to the state of Israel, and forms the ideological basis of the Palestinian unity agreement that Fatah has forged with Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations.

Abbas's speech: Arabic | English

[ Published: October 2, 2014 ]



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