Wednesday, September 24, 2014

24-Sep-14: Some questions not yet asked of today's incarnation of Lincoln

Abbas - the New York City edition, speaking on Monday
at NYC's Cooper Union [Image Source]
The president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas is visiting New York City today. 

On Friday, during the Jewish New Year festival, he will address the United Nations General Assembly. The audience there may hear echoes of a speech he made at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (co-sponsored by Churches for Middle East Peacejust this past Monday in which he outrageously compared "the Palestinian struggle for statehood with historical civil rights struggles in the United States":

“This great hall has been instrumental in suffrage, in Abraham Lincoln’s call to end slavery, in the civil rights movement and the Native American rights movement,” Abbas said, calling upon students to take up the Palestinian cause on campuses across the US. [Times of Israel]
Sadly, tragically, Abbas' UN audience is likely to be as passive and uncritical in the face of his anti-historical account as the Cooper Union crowd were. (The full text of it is here.) If any of Cooper Union audience saw the irony of a political figure eyebrows-deep in personal corruption, presiding over a political entity that routinely honours the confessed murderers of other people's innocent children, speaking from "the venerated New York podium from which Abraham Lincoln catapulted to the presidency two centuries ago" [source], they managed to keep it to themselves.

Abbas - the Ramallah version, arms aloft honouring freshly-released
convicted murderers in October 2013 [Image Source]
With considerably more confidence, we predict Abbas will be utterly silent about the use of human shields by the jihadists of Hamas, his political nemesis/partner; about the massive rocket bombardments on Israeli communities by the pseudo-military forces of Hamas and his own Fatah military throughout this past summer; about how Hamas has stored, and probably still stores, its weapons including rockets and other forms of explosive material in UN schools, in hospitals and in mosques; or about the Hamas-sponsored abduction and murder of three Israeli boys in June.

This is odd because those are precisely the current issues on which outsiders can have an impact for good, and which make all those narcissistic, ghost-written Abbas speeches totally worthless.

Elder of Ziyon posted some sharp questions over on his blog yesterday that highlight some of the many other matters on which Abbas - elected to a presidential term that ended in 2009, and who remains in power via self-issued decrees and endlessly postponed elections - is chronically silent. His suggestion, which we wholeheartedly endorse, is that concerned citizens should send the list to any of the numerous reporters likely to cover any of his various New York appearances. As he writes: "It is way past time the media stops giving him a free pass." He's absolutely right.

Abbas with his Moslem Brotherhood, jihad-addicted
Hamas business partner Haniyeh [Image Source]
Among the questions that EoZ suggests ought to be put to Abbas: Why does the PA name institutions after terrorists who targeted innocent civilians? Isn't that inconsistent with the message you are giving to the West?
  • Why is there still daily incitement on PA TV against Israel? 
  • Do you consider the Mufti of Jerusalem who collaborated with Hitler to be a hero?
  • If you are so interested in peace, why did you go out of your way to meet with child-murderer Samir Kuntar?
  • What, specifically, have you done to prepare your people for peace with Israel? And this followup: Twenty years after Oslo, 60% of your people say the five year goal of the PA should be the destruction of Israel. Isn't this from your own state-run media and school curricula?
  • Do you believe, as Arafat did, that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem? Do you realize that this position is at odds with what Muslims said openly before 1967?
  • Describe your position on "normalization" with Israelis today. Can Israeli pro-peace groups visit Ramallah? Would you allow a Palestinian-Israeli sports camp?
  • Why did you threaten your citizens who dared to shop in a Jewish-owned supermarket that has low prices?
  • Recently you said that you believe that the Holocaust occurred. You wrote a book that claimed that it was exaggerated. Were you lying then, or are you lying now?
  • Do you really believe that Hamas would accept Israel's existence if you reconcile with them? Do you believe that Hamas still subscribes to its charter? Why or why not?
  • As leader of Fatah, why do the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group still exist? How do they get funded? Why didn't you denounce their shooting hundreds of rockets to Israeli civilians? Aren't you against that? And if they do not report to you, then why do you not distance yourself from them? Why did you say they were dismantled when they clearly weren't? Why did you allow them to hold an armed parade recently in Ramallah?
  • Do you agree with the Fatah platform that terrorism is legal under international law?
  • Why does some 6% of the PA budget go towards terrorist prisoners and released terrorists? What percentage of the PA budget goes, directly or indirectly, to Hamas?
  • You have publicly praised terrorists released from Israeli prisons, even embracing murderers. How do you reconcile that with your claims to be against terror?
  • Why did you, last week, praise a terrorist who targeted Jewish children at a circus?
  • Why are there still Palestinian "refugee" camps in the West Bank? Do you not consider their residents to be full citizens of Palestine? Are you keeping them away from having permanent homes in your country for a reason? (In 1950, Israel told UNRWA that it would be insulted to have an outside organization be the primary support for refugees, and it mainstreamed Arabs into becoming full citizens within a couple of years, negating their need for perpetual UN support. Do you disagree with that sentiment?)
And here are three more questions of our own:
Abbas: Is this the face of a politician who lets
reporters' questions get in the way of a pleasant hotel stay in
the Big Apple? [Image Source]
  • As uplifted as we admit we are by the Lincolnesque calls Abbas made for peace and brotherhood in New York City, does the great man have anything at all of a peace-like nature to say to his own electorate back in Ramallah? After all, more than 60% of them said in a Palestinian poll conducted just in the past month that they favour "an armed intifadeh". Does Abbas believe the proper place for the hard work of making peace is Manhattan? If so, does he plan to finally walk away from the high political office he has held since 2005? Yes? Good. How soon?
  • In a speech he made in the Arabic language to an Arabic-speaking non-diplomatic audience in July 2014 and reported on the This Ongoing War blog, Abbas invoked the Quran to justify war i.e. turning to religious Islamic grounds to explain why war is good and essential. Was he taken out of context? Was the Arabic translation wrong? Or is he actually the kind of Arab leader who thinks nothing of basing himself on religious arguments when whipping up the masses for more killing, usually of their own people?
  • And how about a response or two about secret bank accounts and those incredible sweetheart deals that appear to have fallen into the laps of his sons [detailed here: "12-Jul-12: Secret bank accounts, sweetheart deals for insiders, incredible riches for the president's sons: why would any Palestinian Arab politician ever give this up for... peace?"]? Does the Palestine president have anything he can say that will restore confidence in a leadership that most people familiar with its character believe is hopelessly flawed, patently corrupt and incapable of bringing anything good to his own people? Or to put it in the words of a notably courageous and independent Arab journalist with an uncommon familiarity with the workings of the Palestinian political echelon: "Even if [Abbas] were to bring home an agreement that includes 100% of his demands, most Palestinians would still receive it with full skepticism because it would be coming from a leader who does not have a mandate to make even the slightest concession. Under the current circumstances, the wisest thing to do would be to maintain the status quo until the emergence of a new Palestinian leader who would have the true courage to make peace with Israel." These words were written in 2012. Does Mr Abbas think they have any application today?
Enough questions for now. How lovely it would be if a reporter worth his/her pencil would take them up, even just one or two of them, and sit there until Abbas actually answers.

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