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February 25, 2016 7:17 am

Kerry Slaps Abbas’ Wrist on Palestinian Incitement

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /

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US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Department of State.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Department of State. – Just when you thought Secretary of State John Kerry couldn’t get any weaker on the problem of Palestinian incitement and violence, he did.

Kerry met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Feb. 21, against a backdrop of daily Palestinian stabbings of Israeli women and children, and non-stop anti-Jewish incitement in the official PA press, radio, and television.

Yet the secretary of state did not threaten to withhold the Obama administration’s annual $500 million aid package to the PA over the incitement. He didn’t even threaten to reduce the aid.

Incredibly, Kerry didn’t even demand that the PA stop the incitement or the violence. Here’s how State Department spokesman John Kirby described what Kerry said to Abbas: “The secretary continued to urge for calm and a decrease in violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.”

“A decrease.” Not an end to violence — just a decrease.

Note that the PA has one of the largest per-capita security forces in the world. Moreover, the State Department’s own annual human rights reports acknowledge that PA police and security officers routinely imprison and torture the PA’s political enemies. In other words, the PA has proven itself to be fully capable of squashing troublemakers, if it so chooses. If it wanted to stamp out anti-Israel terrorists, it could.

And obviously the PA could stop the incitement at any time, if it wanted.

Consider a few of the examples of the vicious incitement in the PA media — or by the Fatah faction, which Abbas chairs — in the days preceding the Kerry-Abbas meeting:

  • Fatah’s official Facebook page featured a photo of a bleeding terrorist on top of a huge map of Israel, with the caption: “This is the blood that drew the borders of the State of Palestine.” (Feb. 14)
  • A cartoon distributed by the PA depicted Israel as a giant snake attacking Muslim and Christian religious sites. (Feb. 5)
  • Fatah’s Facebook page hailed the three Palestinian terrorists who recently murdered Israeli policewoman Hadar Cohen as “role models across the length and breadth of the homeland.” (Feb. 4)
  • A senior adviser to Abbas, Sultan Abu Al-Einein, said this about the Palestinian knife-terrorists in Jerusalem: “Blessings to our Martyrs, the residents of Jerusalem who had the honor of igniting the first spark of this activity…We bow before every drop of blood that has dripped from our children and women, and bow the head before every Martyr and Martyr’s mother….” (Jan. 16)

(All examples are courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

Kerry should have walked into his meeting with Abbas holding a copy of Al-Einein’s speech in his hand. He should have demanded that Al-Einein be fired and that Abbas make a nationally broadcast speech denouncing what Al-Einein said — and condemning the Palestinian knifers. And Kerry should have said that U.S. aid would be halted if Abbas did not take those steps within 48 hours.

Abbas would have seen that the United States means business. He could not have ignored such a threat.

Instead, Kerry spoke weakly of the need to “decrease” the incitement and violence. He couldn’t even bring himself to say that the incitement and violence must be halted. Kerry’s timid stance guarantees not only that there will be no decrease; in fact, there will be an increase. Because the PA sees that it can do anything it wants, with no consequences.

The PA can call terrorists “martyrs” and “role models.” The PA president’s own adviser can publicly salute “every drop of blood” that the terrorists shed. And all the Obama administration will do in response is slap Abbas’s wrist. Shameful.

Stephen M. Flatow, a New Jersey attorney, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995.

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  • david singer


    One serious flaw in your otherwise excellent article apparently fails to recognise that the Palestinian Authority was disbanded on 3 January 2013 when PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas replaced the “Palestinian Authority” with the “State of Palestine” by this decree:

    “Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”

    John Whitbeck – a legal advisor to the Palestinian team in negotiations with Israel – has written on the significance of this name change:

    “In his correspondence, Yasser Arafat used to list all three of his titles under his signature — President of the State of Palestine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority (in that order of precedence). It is both legally and politically noteworthy that, in signing this decree, Mahmoud Abbas has listed only the first two titles. The Trojan horse called the “Palestinian Authority” in accordance with the Oslo interim agreements and the “Palestinian National Authority” by Palestinians has served its purpose by introducing the institutions of the State of Palestine on the soil of Palestine and has now ceased to exist.”

    You are not alone in failing to recognise this quantum leap by the PLO and its negation of the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

    Your totally incompetent and inept Secretary of State – John Kerry – asked this question at the Saban Forum in December last:

    “If there is a risk the Palestinian Authority might collapse and Israel wants it to survive, shouldn’t Israel do more to help sustain it?”

    The Palestinian Authority has been dead and buried since 3 January 2013. Israel cannot bring it back to life.

    How can Kerry presume to make any decisions to try and end the Jewish-Arab conflict if he is so ignorant of this basic fact?

  • Geoff

    The Secretary of State like the President of the United States are not true Allies to Israel. They will at times talk the talk but they never walk the walk. Actions speak much louder than words.

  • El Cid

    I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Benkoff’s assumptions, no matter the intended sarcasm.

    I do not believe that either Mr. Obama or Mr. Kerry any longer believe in the “peace process” paradigm as they articulated it in the past.

    The entire exercise is intended to support the domestic political theater where the popular opinion is to be anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian, and where the Palestinians are victims who are ‘acting out’, and who have no responsibility.

    The purpose is to ensure that during the election, Israel plays a role in defining Republican vs. Democrat.

    Mr. Kerry has not demonstrated any real, personal connection to either any of the peoples of the region. It is all show.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Kerry doesn’t want to upset the so-called peace process by confronting the PLO terrorist entity. And these shameful responses will continue until the next American administration takes over.

  • Lurch never fails to do and say the wrong thing.
    No surprise here. Sad

  • Brian Day

    The Obama administration does not care about Jewish lives in Israel or in the US.
    Hilary Clinton has sworn allegiance to Obama’s policies.

  • ART

    this is why Obama/Hillary/Kerry can NOT be trusted. American Jews and non Jews of good faith should punish the Democratic party for its perfidy. The US under Obama/hillary/kerry has violated Oslo and its spawn

    • Jerome Liner

      I agree with Art, but it will not happen. I still hear many allegedly intelligent Jews extol the virtues of Obama. This is after 7 years of abject failure, assuming Obama has the USA interests uppermost in mind, and attempting to weaken or destroy Israel.