Palestinians: Abbas's Classic Thug Extortion Trick
This is a classic case of diplomatic terrorism. If you don't hand over the money, their friend here is really, really mad, and they're only just managing to hold him back. And the world fell for it.
Watching Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas make his speech to the UN General Assembly, I suspect the same jolting thought passed through my head as it did for a lot of the viewers': "Isn't this guy meant to be the moderate?"
Coming so soon after the latest Hamas rocket-barrage against Israel, the almost physical need to hold onto that dead paradigm can still occasionally override most of the facts. On one side are the Palestinian rocket-launching squads about whom nothing apparently can be done. Then on the other side are the other Palestinians, led by moderates, who just want to sit down and negotiate if they could only find time out of their busy schedules.
Even those of us who know and follow the Palestinian Authority can find ourselves slipping into this narrative: These are the moderates and those are the extremists, and we have to choose between the two.
Except that then you get another golden opportunity to hear Mahmoud Abbas in full moderate flight mode, and you have to rethink it all over again.
When Abbas stood up to take the floor in front of the UN and the world last Thursday, he might have started with a concession. He might have started with a bid for peace or a reaching out to the Israelis. But no, he started once again, in time-honored fashion, with an attack on Israel. And the usual array of hilarious untruths and half-truths.
"Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly…"
Not even a full sentence in and already the "Wrong" buzzer sounds. "Palestine" comes today? Which Palestine? Gaza? West Bank? "Palestine" is not a single entity. It is hopelessly divided. It makes the average boxing tournament look like a meeting of minds.
After all – and as he must surely know – Abbas himself has not even been to the Gaza since 2007. And not because the wicked Zionists have stopped him from doing so, but because his Palestinian brothers in Hamas have such a bad track record for shooting and hurling from high buildings most of Mr. Abbas's erstwhile Fatah colleagues in Gaza, as during the 2007 Hamas coup.
But, undeterred by such trivialities, Abbas continued:
"…at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs."
The what? Martyrs? Oh well, perhaps it's just a stylistic thing…
"…of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace."
Israeli aggression? Wiping out?
The question all of this begged for me, as I'm sure it did for plenty of others, was this: Does this sound like the opening number of somebody eager to engage in a peace process? Or the audition of a man who is hoping that he can take back extremism from the extremists?
Mahmoud Abbas spent his speech claiming that this was the last chance for the peace process. In reality, it was simply the last chance for Mahmoud Abbas to remain in charge. In recent weeks he has been phoning around the foreign ministries of Europe explaining that if they don't back him this time in the non-state statehood bid, then it is all over and all we have to deal with is Hamas.
This is, of course, the classic thug extortion trick. They come to your door and tell you that you have to hand over the money. Not because they are going to do anything so bad if you don't, but because their friend here is really, really mad, and they're only just managing to hold him back.
On Thursday the UN General Assembly, with only a few brave souls holding out, finally gave in to this man's gangsterism. Many of them did so in order – they thought – to avoid the rocket-firing terrorism of Hamas. So they ended up by backing the diplomatic terrorism of Mahmoud Abbas.
What he does with his new-found power we can already guess. He will use it – as he used his time on the UN stage – not to further the peace process, but to retard it, principally by demonizing the only negotiating partner that he, or any other Palestinian leader, will ever have.
After the UN vote there were fireworks in the West Bank. Indeed more fireworks than at any time in November since Hamas managed to land a couple of rockets in Jerusalem. Between those two events lies the true horror of the situation the world has just attempted to parcel Israel up into. The Palestinians have tried a one-two punch. The world has just fallen for it. Whether it now manages to force Israel to fall for it too, we shall have to see.
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Armed robbery in broad daylight." — Palestinians, after Hamas "seized" $750,000 from Gaza bank.
Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.