Vindication: Abbas once again plays American administration for fools

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah, May 25, 2021. Credit: Flash90.

by David Bedein

The events of the past two weeks have vindicated my conclusion, after 36 years of scrutinizing PLO and UNRWA policies, that the PLO has fostered an ideology based on justifying the murder of Jews.

Full disclosure: On Dec. 1, 1987, when I launched an office for news and research at Jerusalem’s press center, I was an advocate of a Palestinian Arab state.

Seventeen years of active involvement in the Israel peace movement had convinced me that Israel had a genuine Arab peace partner with whom Israel could resolve the war with the Palestinian Arabs and address the millions of Arabs who dwelled in 59 UNRWA camps as refugees in perpetuity.

That optimism lasted for one week.

On Dec. 8, 1987, the PLO took over the Palestinian Arab leadership in what became known as a violent “intifada,” the Arabic term meaning to “throw off” Israel.

Ever since, I have engaged Arabic-speaking journalists — Jews and Arabs — who assist me in examining every aspect of the PLO and UNRWA.

After 36 years, our research concluded that the purpose of the PLO was to indoctrinate the systematic murder of the Jews.

Very few believed me.

However, the massacre of Jewish men, women, and babies which took place on Oct. 7 represented the culmination of 24 years of incitement of the Arabs to cross the fence, and to then to abduct or murder any Jew who stood in their warpath on the road to fulfill their right of return by force of arms.

Fast forward to the Oct. 18 visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Jerusalem.

The State Department affirmed to me that the president was assured that the PA condemned the current Arab murder campaign. The report of the Abbas condemnation of the killings enabled Biden to arrive in Jerusalem and endorse the creation of a Palestinian state with Abbas at its helm.

Our news agency had engaged a senior journalist, fluent in Arabic, Pinhas Inbari, now a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, to follow every word attributed to Abbas in the tightly controlled Palestinian Authority, following the discovery of babies butchered at the hands of Palestinian Arabs. Inbari reported that Abbas’s comments to the PA media did not reflect or carry one word of regret, apology or second thoughts about the actions of the Arab murder campaign since Oct.7.

“The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency published comments on Sunday by President Mahmoud Abbas that criticized Hamas over its actions but later removed reference to the terrorist group without providing an explanation” — Jerusalem Post, Oct. 17, 2023.

What Abbas did repeat, over and over, on PA radio, TV, and internet was that the PA would provide a grant for the family of any Arab who died as a “Shahid,” a holy martyr, since Oct. 7.

This was the legacy of President Joe Biden in Jerusalem: allowing Mahmoud Abbas to get away with murder.

David Bedein is director of the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research.