The Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, continue to twist, misrepresent and rewrite the history of the Jews as part of an ongoing campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The campaign aims to negate and reject the connection between the Jews and the Land of Israel and foster hatred for Israel and the Jews.
This campaign -- which, in Europe, at least, has been going on for decades -- is being completely ignored by both the European Union and the Biden administration, whose representatives are too busy bashing Israel to notice. By turning a blind eye to Palestinian lies, fabrications and antisemitism, the Biden administration and the EU are sending a message to the Palestinians that it is perfectly fine to continue demonizing Israel and Jews.
On February 12, Abbas participated in a conference at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The conference, attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II, was held to discuss ways to support the Arabs living in Israel's capital, Jerusalem.
Addressing the conference, Abbas repeated his false claim that there was no connection between Jews and Jerusalem, as well as the Western Wall of Temple Mount, part of the retaining wall from the Second Temple of Solomon that was destroyed in 67 CE -- more than 500 years before the Islamic Prophet Mohammad was born in 571 CE -- and that Muslims are now claiming as part of their Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. Abbas also exposed his antisemitic colors once again by arguing that Israel was created because the Europeans wanted to get rid of the Jews living in their countries, when in fact the Jews have continuously lived in area, first known as Canaan, which included Judea, since at least 1550 BCE, when Jericho was razed.
According to Abbas, the Palestinians are the only ones who have rights in Jerusalem and its holy sites, including the Western Wall, referred to by Muslims as Al-Buraq Wall:
"We have the opportunity at this conference to present a true, documented account of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the Al-Buraq Wall [Western Wall], an account that refutes the fabricated account on which the occupation is based. We [the Palestinians] have the right to Palestine, Jerusalem, and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. We alone have the religious, historical, and legal right to Al-Buraq Wall, which is, as we said before, is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is a valid Islamic property."
Abbas went on to claim that the idea of establishing the State of Israel had nothing to do with Jews achieving their more-than-2,000-year-old dream to live freely in their own homeland. Instead, Abbas argued, Israel was created for two simple reasons: The Europeans wanted to get rid of the Jews living in their countries; and, to serve the interests of "colonial powers" in the Middle East.
In Abbas's opinion, Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration that supported the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine was nothing but a "conspiracy led by Britain and the US with the aim of getting rid of the Jews in Europe on the one hand, and the establishment of what was called their national homeland in Palestine on the other hand to serve as an outpost to secure the interests of the colonial countries."
Two days after Abbas's latest attempt to rewrite history and deny any Jewish connection to the land of Israel, his friends in the Biden administration and some European countries issued a joint statement in which they attacked Israel for advancing plans to build new homes for Jewish families in the West Bank:
"We – the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Italy, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Secretary of State of the United States – are deeply troubled by the Israeli government's announcement that it is advancing nearly 10,000 settlement units... We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution. We continue to closely monitor developments on the ground which impact the viability of the two-state solution and stability in the region at large."
Needless to say, the statement by France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US totally ignored Abbas's ongoing campaign to vilify Israel, demonize Jews, deny their history and rights to Israel and the Western Wall. In fact, the EU has even been working with the Palestinians to seize as much land as possible to create "facts on the ground" in the large region of "Area C" that officially belongs to Israel.
The statement also totally ignores Palestinian leaders' glorification of terrorists and the Palestinian "pay-for-slay" jobs-program that incentivizes Palestinians to murder Jews by rewarding the murderers and their families afterwards.
For the EU and the Biden administration, building new homes by Jewish families is more dangerous than the antisemitic remarks and genocidal rhetoric of Abbas and other Palestinians (for instance here, here and here).
The representatives of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US are lying to everyone's face when they claim that the construction of new homes for Jews would "exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution."
It is the Palestinian leadership's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people that is exacerbating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the Palestinian leadership's massive campaign of incitement against Israel and Jews and continued glorification of terrorists that is aggravating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. It is also the Palestinian leadership's ongoing efforts to erase Jewish history that are responsible for the mounting tensions.
The representatives of Italy, Germany, France, Britain and the US know that the Israeli-Arab conflict started long before the construction of even one house for Jews in the West Bank.
All they need to do is listen to what Abbas himself said in Cairo, where he made it clear that the Arab's problem with Israel started already back in 1917, when the Jews were promised a homeland of their own. When Abbas states that the Arabs have exclusive rights to Jerusalem and Palestine, he is actually saying that Israel has no right to exist.
Unlike the Europeans and the Biden administration, Abbas's main objection does not note the construction of a few thousand housing units for Jewish families. Abbas's main objection concerns Jews moving from Europe and other parts of the world to live in their own homeland. Abbas's main objection is to Jews' saying that they have religious, historical and legal rights to Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and the Western Wall.
By ignoring Abbas's remarks, those who issued the joint statement that denounces Israel for intending to build new housing units for Jewish families are complicit in the Palestinian campaign of lies and fabrications regarding Jewish history and rights.
By failing to call out the Palestinian leader for his lies, distortions and incitement, the officials from Italy, Germany, France, Britain and the Biden administration are again demonstrating their unbending bias against Israel.
They are allowing Palestinian leaders to continue to spread their lies and fabrications about Israel and the Jewish people. This -- rather than building homes for Jews -- is the real threat to a "negotiated solution" between Israelis and Palestinians.
As noted by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
"The objectives of the Palestinians' twisting history, perpetuating inaccuracies and deliberately distorting names, providing incorrect dates and introducing antisemitic elements are to cast into doubt and deny the existence of the Jewish people and its historical connections to the Land of Israel, foster hatred for Israel and the Jews and sabotage any chance of significant dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians."
Abbas has made similar statements about Israel and Jews in the past. In 2018, he said in speech before the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, that the Europeans hated the Jews because of their social and banking activities, including interest on loans. According to Abbas, the State of Israel is colonialist project and alien body that was planted in the region by Christian countries that hated the Jews and wanted to get rid of them.
It is time for the EU and the Biden administration to wake up to the fact that the Palestinian leaders are not interested in peace with Israel. They are interested in peace without Israel. The Palestinians do not distinguish between a Jew residing in the West Bank and a Jew residing in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
The Palestinian leaders are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The EU and the Biden administration's double standards and failure to see reality as it is, instead of as they wish it to be, are also part of the problem. Only when the EU and the Biden administration take this in will it be possible to start talking about the prospects of a "negotiated solution" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East