Israeli Official Blasts Abbas for ‘Perplexing’ Leadership, ‘Many Contradictions’
A senior Israeli government official blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for comments he made during a televised speech from his Bethlehem office on Wednesday night.
“There are so many contradictions in Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’] stance in general that it’s difficult to know where to start,” the official told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “He says he wants peaceful resistance [against Israel] and then praises knife attacks [against Israelis]. He threatens to dissolve the PA and then says he’ll never do it. He says he believes in peace, but embraces Hamas. His leadership is perplexing, and it’s high time the international community demand that he unequivocally condemn terrorism and return to peace talks without any preconditions.”
The Israeli official was referring to remarks that the PA leader has been making throughout his presidency, and particularly since the beginning of the current surge in Palestinian terrorism, which began nearly four months ago. Abbas’ speech this week was delivered during and in honor of the Greek Orthodox Christmas celebrations, which take place every year at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
Abbas’ address came on the heels of another speech he gave a week earlier, on the 51st anniversary of the first terrorist attack committed by his Fatah faction against Israelis – and in the wake of Hebrew press reports that the Netanyahu government has been having closed-door meetings to discuss the possible imminent collapse of the PA.
During both speeches, Abbas — who himself has issued threats in the international arena to dismantle the PA – asserted that it is neither being dismantled nor on the verge of collapsing.
“The Palestinian Authority exists and it is here,” he said. “It will be followed by a Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority is one of our achievements and we won’t give it up.”
In an attempt to shed light on the main message Abbas was trying to convey on Wednesday, pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon on Thursday commented on the content of both addresses, and examined the difference in the way they were reported by the Israeli and Palestinian press:
Israeli media concentrated on [Abbas’] assertion that the Palestinian Authority will not collapse. He had said the same thing on December 31, but no one else noticed it then. The statement was not a reaction to Netanyahu’s mentioning the possibility of the PA’s collapse… but from internal Arab problems within the West Bank.
The speech said nothing new at all, but it is useful to see how Palestinian Arabs are reporting on it. They are more likely to understand the real message Abbas wants to make.
Ma’an English emphasized Abbas’ assertion that the PLO will decide next week whether to continue security cooperation with Israel…
Elder of Ziyon also pointed to an interview that Abbas gave to the editor of the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency a few hours before his Bethlehem address — the main points of which were summarized by the interviewer as follows:
The current wave of violence will continue indefinitely until Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 lines.
He [Abbas] supports a peaceful uprising only as long as no Israeli soldiers kill attackers; otherwise each and every bullet and knife attack are Israel’s fault and responsibility.
The PA will not collapse.
Abbas wants a national unity government, “with or without Hamas,” whatever that means. He emphasized that Hamas is responsible for the Rafah crossing being closed, not Egypt.
Abbas does not like when Turkey or Qatar send aid and money directly to Gaza, bypassing the PLO.
The PLO is happy to sit still and wait for Arabs to outnumber Jews in the areas of British Mandate Palestine; betting that the frightened Israeli left wing will collapse the Zionist enterprise by playing on the fears of Israeli colonialism.
Abbas is also closely following the controversies over what he termed “racist laws” in Israel, betting that the world will lose patience with “racist Israel and its crimes.”