The latest attempt by Iran and its Palestinian terror proxies to kill as many Jews as possible just ended with another "ceasefire" between Israel and the Palestinians that was brokered by Egypt. During the five days of fighting, the Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip, in particular Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), fired more than 1,200 rockets at Israel -- a country the size of New Jersey -- killing two people and damaging several homes and other buildings.
Yet, while the Jihad (holy war) waged by the Iranian-backed terror groups against Israel may have ended for now, Israel continues to face another type of war that is not less dangerous than the rockets and projectiles that are periodically fired into the country. This war is being waged by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, with the aim of vilifying and isolating Israel in the international community.
The PA wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders and punish them for speaking out against, or combatting, terrorism.
Instead of demanding that ICC punish the terrorists -- who are intentionally firing rockets at Israeli civilians -- the Palestinian Authority is asking the court to prosecute Israelis for launching operations to counter terrorism.
The war the PA is waging against Israel is not new. It is, in fact, a war that has been fought since the establishment of the PA, which followed the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993-1995.
In this war, the Palestinian Authority is not using rockets and missiles to attack Israel. Instead, the PA, which according to the Oslo Accords is officially supposed to be Israel's peace partner and to prevent terrorism and violence, is using various platforms, especially the media, to spew hatred against Israel and level all manner of libel against it, such as false accusations that it is practicing "apartheid" and committing "massacres" against the Palestinians.
While the rockets were raining down on Israel from the Gaza Strip this month, Palestinian Authority leaders and spokesmen were using every available platform to spread lies and delegitimize Israel. At the heart of the PA's campaign against Israel is the argument that Israel has no right to target terrorists in the West Bank or Gaza Strip who are directly and indirectly involved in terrorism against Jews. Instead, Israel should agreeably allow its citizens to be killed.
As far as the PA is concerned, Israel should have no right to defend itself against a radical Islamist jihadi group that rejects Israel's right to exist and has been responsible for countless terror attacks against Jews for decades.
A series of statements made by senior Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, illustrate that Mahmoud Abbas and his associates, instead of denouncing the terrorists for indiscriminately firing rockets at Israeli civilians, is actually supporting the terrorists -- both financially in a pay-for-slay "jobs program," as well as verbally. In this regard, the PA is not only abrogating its commitments under the Oslo Accords and international law, but is acting as an enemy of Israel -- not a peace partner.
The Palestinian Authority has proven that it cares more about the terrorists than about the civilians they injure and kill. Shortly after Israel eliminated three top PIJ commanders in the Gaza Strip on May 9, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesperson for Mahmoud Abbas, was quick to condemn Israel for "the dangerous escalation against our people." Abu Rudaineh described the airstrike that killed the PIJ commanders -- who had instigated the attacks against Israel -- as a "crime" and warned that Israel was "dragging the region toward tension, violence and instability." His complaint, in other words, is that "It all started when he hit me back."
Abu Rudaineh, however, "forgot" to mention that the Israeli airstrikes had come in response to more than 100 rockets that terrorists had fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel a few days earlier. He also "forgot" to mention that the three commanders belonged to PIJ, a group that rejects Israel's right to exist and is opposed to any peace process.
PIJ openly states that "Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, is an Arab Islamic land." According to the group, it is forbidden to give up any part of this land, and Israel has no right to exist on any part of it. The goals of PIJ are:
"The liberation of the whole of Palestine and the liquidation of the Israeli entity, and the establishment of Islamic rule on the land of Palestine which guarantees the achievement of justice, freedom, and equality."
PIJ also says it seeks to mobilize the Palestinians and prepare them for jihad against Israel, and aims to "inspire and mobilize the masses of the Islamic nation everywhere and urge them to fight the decisive battle with the Israeli entity."
The same Palestinian official, Abu Rudaineh, issued another statement on May 13 in response to Israeli counterterrorism operations in the West Bank and Gaza strip, claiming that Israel's retaliatory strikes on PIJ targets and terrorists in the Gaza Strip and the killing of terrorists are "dangerous crimes."
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also joined the chorus of senior Palestinian officials who chose to blame Israel for the fighting rather than the terrorists who had begun the conflict by firing more than 100 rockets at Israeli towns and cities the week before.
Commenting on the killing of the three PIJ commanders, Shtayyeh denounced the Israeli military strike as a "horrific massacre" and an "aggression." Shtayyeh, too, "forgot" to mention that the Israeli operation was directed not at civilians, as the Palestinian operation had been, but specifically against commanders of an Iranian-backed, designated terror group, PIJ. He even went on to praise the slain terrorists and other Palestinians killed in the Israeli airstrikes as "martyrs."
Abu Rudaineh and Shtayyeh then called on the "international community," the United Nations and the Biden administration to hold Israel to account as a rogue state in the international arena for being so inconsiderate as to defend itself against the rocket attacks of PIJ and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
As part of the anti-Israel campaign, Mahmoud Abbas last week arrived in New York to participate in a United Nations event marking "Nakba Day" on May 15. "Nakba" ("catastrophe") is the term Palestinians and other Arabs use to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948, after a war again initiated by the armies of five Arab states -- Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq -- to try to destroy Israel on the day of its birth, and which the Arabs then lost.
By hosting Abbas and organizing such an event, the UN is essentially complicit in the Palestinian Authority's war on Israel.
So is the European Union, which came out against the Israeli military operation that was countering the terrorists in the Gaza Strip, and described Israel's actions as "intolerable." Instead of calling on the Palestinian terrorists to stop targeting Israeli civilians, the EU urged the two parties to "exercise maximum restraint."
The UN endorsed the Palestinian narrative that the establishment of Israel was a "catastrophe."
Iran and its Palestinian terror proxies, meanwhile, proclaim that Israel should be destroyed – through a nuclear bomb, or Jihad, or rockets, or other forms of terrorism, such as suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and car-rammings.
The latest round of fighting shows that the terrorists in the Gaza Strip have not even remotely relinquished their dream of eliminating Israel and killing Jews. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority – Israel's "peace partners" – are working to achieve the same goal through legal and diplomatic warfare and incitement against Israel.
It is time for the Biden administration and the international community to wake up and see that there is no real difference between PIJ, Hamas, Hezbollah – and the Palestinian Authority. They all share the same aspiration of seeing Israel wiped off the map. They only differ regarding the best means to accomplish that. Iran's terror militias are convinced this goal can be achieved through terrorism and rockets, while the Biden administration's friends in the PA believe that with the help of the UN, EU, ICC and other international parties, they can finally exterminate Israel by delegitimizing it through the legal and diplomatic route.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.