Manchester, Abbas and ‘Evil Losers’
On Monday night, a terrorist blew himself up outside the Manchester Arena as American singer Ariana Grande finished performing. The mass casualties — 22 dead and dozens wounded — sent Britain into a state of shock and mourning, with Prime Minister Theresa May upgrading the country’s threat level to “critical.”
The following day, US President Donald Trump visited Bethlehem, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Allow me at the beginning to condemn the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Manchester … leaving tens of casualties and innocent people,” Abbas said during a joint press conference with Trump. “I do offer my warm condolences to the prime minister of Britain, families of victims and the British people.”
Trump was more expansive. After offering “prayers to the people of Manchester in the United Kingdom,” and “deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and the…so many families of the victims,” the US president went on to express “absolute solidarity” with Britain for the loss of “so many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term.”
He then tied the event to the message at the core of his overseas trip. “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed,” he said. “We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people…The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever.”
Referring to radical Islamism, he stated: “This wicked ideology must be obliterated… All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.”
This echoed the speech he delivered in Riyadh on Sunday, where he called on all Arab and Muslim leaders to stomp out the phenomenon in their countries.
The only problem with this declaration — as clear as it was crucial — was that not a single Arab or Muslim leader listening to and applauding it believed it was aimed at them. The Sunnis nodded at the prospect of eradicating Shiite violence and vice versa. The Wahhabis agreed that Islamic State terrorism had to be defeated. The state sponsors of terrorism in attendance, such as Saudi Arabia itself and Qatar, were thrilled to be called upon to halt Iran. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority representatives nodded solemnly about the ills of Hamas.
Whether the tragic irony was lost on Trump is not clear; his true thoughts about the Islamist tyrants on whom his powerful speech was wasted remain somewhat of a conundrum. While in Bethlehem two days later, however, he did praise Abbas for having “joined the summit and committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology.”
This is beyond laughable. Abbas can hardly be counted on to combat a practice he embraces and encourages among his people. Indeed, the Palestinian leader not only promotes stabbings, rammings and bombings targeting Israelis, he pays salaries to the families of perpetrators killed “in action.” He also gives his clerics and educators free rein to spread hatred, particularly against Israel.
For instance, as a Middle East Media Research Institute report revealed this week, a mere four days before Abbas welcomed the US president in Bethlehem, a prominent Palestinian imam at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque prayed to Allah to “annihilate Trump and the conspirators,” and to “annihilate all the Jews.”
The genocidal content of Palestinian sermons is nothing new. Nor is the fact that Abbas holds terrorism dear. According to Palestinian Media Watch, during the month ahead of Trump’s Mideast and European “tolerance tour” alone, Abbas, his Fatah faction and the PA glorified 12 terrorists — 10 of whom murdered 95 people — and named a street after one of them. Abbas’ deputy honored five terrorists responsible for the murder of 38 people. The PA commended the mother of four terrorists, each of whom is serving multiple life sentences. The PA named public squares after two terrorists who kidnapped and murdered an Israeli, with Abbas sending greetings of “honor and pride” to them. Fatah’s youth movement exalted four infamous terrorists in a music video, and the list goes on.
President Trump, beware. Your description of jihadis as “evil losers” fits Abbas and the members of his apparatus to a T.
Ruthie Blum is an editor at the Gatestone Institute. The article was originally published in Israel Hayom.