Springtime for Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas turned up last week at the United Nations. He was there to petition for statehood on behalf of the PA or the PLO. There’s something almost funny about Abbas’s gambit. Fred Siegel reminds us that Abbas is currently in the 81st month of his 48-month term and that he is the leader of the West Bank component of the Palestinian Authority, supposedly including the Gaza Strip. Over on the Gaza Strip, however, the powers-that-be operate under the auspices of Hamas, an organization frankly devoted to the elimination of Israel, and are led by Ismail Haniya. Hamas opposes Abbas’s bid for statehood. In the UN, it all makes perfect sense.

Abbas makes an avuncular appearance, but the appearance is deceiving. Some people learn everything they need to know in kindergarten. Not Abbas. Abbas probably learned everything he needed to know pursuing his graduate studies at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Abbas devoted his doctoral dissertation to writing The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism in which he attempted to prove that the Holocaust never happened.

Abbas was a Black September operator in the early 1970′s, around the time of the Black September operations leading to the murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972 and the American ambassador to Sudan in Khartoum in 1973. Indeed, Abbas was the paymaster for the operation that led to the murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes and the mastermind of the Achille Lauro operation. Arafat himself placed Abbas on the PLO executive committee in the PLO’s terrorist heyday.

Abbas’s UN speech is worth a look. Abbas cited “the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948.” That is Abbas’s circumlocutory reference to Israel.

Abbas also employs another circumlocutory reference to Israel. Abbas refers throughout his speech to “the occupying power.” According to Abbas, the occupying power is advancing “a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing.”

One more reference to Israel: “the Israeli colonial settlement occupation.”

In a few places Abbas slips and refers to Israel directly: “Israel reoccupied the cities of the West Bank by a unilateral action…,” “the Israeli settlement expansion project,” and “the Israeli occupation.”

At one point Abbas announces continuing adherence “to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.” He speaks as a representative of the PLO: “I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities.” What’s wrong with this picture?

Abbas refers to Israel’s alleged “apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall,” but his efforts efforts “are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it[.]” As I say, at the UN, it all makes perfect sense.

About the little unpleasantness with Hamas, Abbas said:

When division struck the unity of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue for restoration of our unity. We succeeded months ago in achieving national reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the coming weeks. The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.

No problem, I guess.

No such speech would be complete without a promise of the so-called right of return:

[A]fter 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

About that “ongoing Nakba”: It’s almost enough to make one think Abbas does not recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel, and to think he has a larger project in mind. One more clue: the PA/PLO logo.

Has Glenn Kessler fact-checked that logo? He might have a have a bone to pick with Abbas.

A CORRECTION REGARDING THE ACHILLE LAURO OPERATION: Abbas is the guy who interceded to seek the release of the terrorist who led the hijacking, not its mastermind. I regret the error, noted by a commenter.

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