Opinion: Mahmoud Abbas is No Moderate
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently marched with world leaders in Paris in a gesture of unity after Islamic extremists slaughtered 17 people. While much of the Western world agrees that Hamas is a terrorist organization, Abbas has been hailed by many as being a brave and moderate figure who wants peace with Israel. Such characterizations fail to take key facts about Abbas into consideration, making his participation in the anti-terror march absurd.
In 1982, Abbas completed his doctoral thesis, titled “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement.” Abbas wrote that the estimated number of Jews killed during the Holocaust, was “less than one million.” He also claimed that the Zionist leadership collaborated with the Nazi regime to “facilitate the wide-spread destruction” of Jews. Abbas’ thesis later took the form of a book, which was printed in 1984 by a publisher based in Amman, Jordan. In the introduction to his book, Abbas asserted again that the number of Jews killed was less than one million. Abbas also claimed that there were doubts regarding the existence of gas chambers.
It is rather ironic that Abbas constructs a supposed Nazi-Zionist conspiracy, considering the very real connection between Adolf Hitler and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was considered by many to be one of the major founders of Palestinian Arab nationalism. During the Second World War, he collaborated with Nazi Germany and helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS, many of whom later fought against the nascent State of Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. Al-Husseini also sought Hitler’s help in extending the Nazis’ genocidal anti-Jewish program from Europe to Arab lands. This happened during a personal meeting between the two that took place in 1941.
And the outrages don’t end with Abbas’ views on the Holocaust. Under his presidency, the Palestinian Authority has continued to make it illegal for Palestinians to sell land to Jews; worse, it is a capital offense. In one high profile case, former Palestinian intelligence officer Muhammad Abu Shahala was sentenced to death after it was revealed that he sold his home in Hebron to a Jewish man.
According to Caroline Glick, “scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.” Such laws, enforced by Abbas, have dangerous commonalities with the Third Reich ban on social and economic relations with Jews. Furthermore, Palestinian Authority officials and media have continuously engaged in incitement against Israel, under Abbas’ watch. A recent example occurred just last year, when Abbas called upon all Palestinians to prevent Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount ‘by all means.’
Mahmoud Abbas’ past history of financing terrorism also must be addressed. In a Sports Illustrated article from 2002, the mastermind behind the Munich Olympic Massacre revealed that it was Abbas who financed the operation. The mastermind recalled how Arafat and Abbas wished him luck and kissed him when he set about organizing the attack.
Not only does Abbas refuse to renounce this massacre, but he actively praises Black September and other terrorists to this day. When the Munich mastermind died in 2010 of kidney failure, Abbas sent a telegram of condolence calling him “a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn fighter.” In late 2014, Muataz Hijazi shot Yehuda Glick in an attempt to assassinate him. When Hijazi was later killed by Israeli police, after attempts at his arrest were met with gunfire, Abbas expressed condolences to Hijazi’s family while condemning the “heinous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army.”
In order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must negotiate with moderate Palestinian leadership. There must be willingness on the part of Palestinians to renounce terrorism, not pursue anti-Semitic policies and deny Israel’s right to exist. Mahmoud Abbas is no such person.
Bradley Martin is a Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Fellow and student at Concordia University.