Saturday, November 8

Condolence Letter, President Mahmoud Abbas and Terror in Jerusalem

A Palestinian man rams his car into a crowded train platform in east Jerusalem, then attacks people with an iron bar and injures at least six in what authorities called a terror attack before he was shot dead by the police.
A man looks on at the site where a Palestinian rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians in Jerusalem  Phtoographer: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images 
President Mahmoud Abbas seems to be playing a game of contradictions. His speech made at the UNGA 2014 accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinians is a case in point. After the shooting of right-wing activist, Yehuda Glick, he sent a condolence letter to the family of Muatez Hijazi, the prime suspect, after a gun fight with the police in which Hijazi was killed.

There is a feeling in the US and the EU that since the end of Operation Protective Edge, opportunities for peace has increased because of the false belief that President Mahmoud Abbas's stature in the Palestinian camp has improved. Nothing could be further from the truth. While Hamas has suffered a severe beating by the IDF, their stature in the Palestinian camp has not. Recent Palestinian polls show that Hamas has increased support over the PLO or the PA of Mahmoud Abbas. Mahmoud Abbas in theory may be stronger but in practice, he is weak. He has very little support from the Palestinian people and he is well aware of that. How can he increase his support from his people? He can achieve this by rhetoric that is not Israel friendly!

As mentioned earlier in this article, his UNGA 2014 genocide speech was addressed to the Palestinian People rather than to the world. He had to show his sympathy for Palestinian 
English: Mahmoud Abbas
English: Mahmoud Abbas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
suffering and victims of the recent IDF operation in Gaza.

By default rather than by elections, Abbas is now leader of Gaza while Hamas remains all powerful in Palestinian support and in rhetoric based on fantasies and falsities that are the tools of the trade of Hamas. Credibility is not a strong point of Hamas and this is grist to the mill for Palestinian support. Repeat a fantasy in Palestinian Street often enough and it becomes the truth - the fulfillment of Hamas fantasies and ideology.

In order to gain the support that he does not have, Mahmoud Abbas has decided to adopt the strategy of fueling the dreams of Hamas-supporting Palestinians to win them back to his fold of cronies. He can only do this by adopting Hamas-like rhetoric that is popular in Palestinian Street. The results are the rioting in Jerusalem and retrogression to support of terror against Israelis in Jerusalem, especially in East Jerusalem. The recent ramming of a bus by a Hamas terrorist resulted in the death of a 3 month old baby and an innocent bystander and injury to 8 people. A week later, the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick was undertaken by a Hamas terrorist who was later killed in a gun fight with the police.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick is described as right wing in the press because of his belief in the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. He differs from right wing religious Zionists because he believes in the right of Muslims to pray there as well as it is also a holy place for them.

Mahmoud Abbas is playing a double game of rhetoric support of terrorist acts, while at the same time, damning PM Netanyahu with faint praise in supporting him trying to stop the terrible violence that has engulfed Jerusalem. He supports Netanyahu in saying that the status quo of Jerusalem must be maintained.

Israel's extreme right wing in Netanyahu's coalition must also be held accountable for the deteriorating situation in Jerusalem. These MKs in his cabinet are encouraging settlement of Israelis in Palestinian areas of Jerusalem such as Silwan with the building of over 500 residential units in disputed areas. This is not wise. It has resulted in severe criticism from the US and the EU. The timing for doing this could not be worse. It has weakened Israel's credibility even further by adding another obstacle to a return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians that is moribund. Netanyahu's famous 2009 Bar Ilan speech in which he expressed his support for the two-state solution was a total farce! If he believed in that why carry on building settlements in hot spots where Palestinians live in order to make the two-state solution unattainable? Is this a tactic to placate his right wing coalition? The answer is obviously in the affirmative.

The "status quo" seems to go beyond freedom of praying on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with the various arrangements that were in place over the years. In Israeli Government Coalition eyes, it also means achieving peace and maintaining the occupation including controlling Palestinian lives and an end to the Two-State Solution.

It appears that the knee-jerk reaction of Israel's Government is "the more Palestinian violence, the more we will build Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas!" It is a reaction of vengeance that will also give legitimacy to fringe right wing extremists, such as Price Tag (whose barbaric vandalism against Palestinians is treated with kid-glove indifference) to take the law into their own hands and aggravate a situation that is very volatile.

At the time of writing, another terrorist attack was carried out in Eastern Jerusalem. The driver of a vehicle, Ibrahim al-Akri from Shuafat, decided to ram his pick-up truck into innocent people waiting for the light rail tram, killing 2 persons and injuring 14 people. The terrorist driver was killed, after he left his vehicle to attack people with a metal bar, by the police. Ibrahim al-Akri was an active Hamas terrorist. His brother was a prisoner released during the Gilad Shalit agreement. It appears that there are many Hamas-Islamic Jihad terrorists adopting the tactic of driving their vehicles into places where innocent people are waiting for public transport in Eastern Jerusalem. Hamas, as expected, has praised this latest act of terror. It is obvious that this tactic of ramming vehicles into innocent people is becoming more frequent and unfortunately it will not be surprising if there will be more attacks of this nature in the near future.

There are discussions on blowing up the homes of terrorists and their families who were involved in terrorist attacks. This should apply to Jewish terrorists as well as in the case of the killing of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and the burning of his body. Everyone should be equal before the law but unfortunately this is not the case.

Despite all the Hamas terror acts against innocent Israelis, it must never be used as a tool for vengeance by establishing new settlements in occupied territories. Every case of terror must be dealt by bringing the perpetrators to justice. Building illegal settlements aggravates the situation even further for reasons already stated in this article. Another ignition point is the arrival of extreme right wing Knesset members such as Moshe Feiglin, Tzippi Hatovely, Uzi Ariel,  "La Passionaria" Miri Regev and company onto the Temple Mount to emphasize their right to pray there, aggravates a highly volatile situation causing more violence and bloodshed. This is reckless, irresponsible behavior by those who should set an example for restraint. It serves no purpose apart from a clarion call to violence and hate. Apart from that, according to Halacha, it is forbidden for Jews to go to the Temple Mount for prayer. However, this does not seem binding on the right wing religious Zionists in the Netanyahu Coalition, when politics acts supreme despite the violence that is ignited. The solution to the conflict is by negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Freezing settlements is a first step towards creating an atmosphere of trust between the two sides and will also weaken Hamas, which is a terrorist organization. Increased settlement activity in the occupied territories increases Palestinian support for Hamas. Even President Mahmoud Abbas, considered a moderate by Israel's allies, is moving to a more extreme position. This is a negative development for Israel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with you that negotiations are the key to alleviating this issue. The inability for both sides to accept each other as equal human beings is quite saddening. Also, I felt that the politicians that are intertwined in the issue are not taking responsibility for their actions that may have aggravated the situation. In the end, the people that have to pay the price are the innocent civilians.