|Erekat on the left, hanging out with the mourners in the Aribah/Oraiba
home in Abu Dis on Saturday [Image Source]
Just a few days ago, we reported ["03-Dec-15: Thursday morning north Jerusalem shooting attack - gunman is a PA officer"] on a terror attack at the busy Hizme checkpoint on the edge of the Pisgat Ze'ev neighbourhood of north-east Jerusalem. A gunman emerged from his vehicle, and opened fire on nearby Israelis, striking two of them before being shot dead by alert IDF service personnel.
We mentioned that Fatah - at whose head stands none other than Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president - declared three days of mourning and a mass strike in Abu Dis, the Jerusalem suburb where the gunman - Oraiba Mazen Hassan [مازن حسن عريبة] - lived. The ostentatious response to yet another terrorist killed in the act may have stemmed from this particular gunman having been, at the time of his unexpected demise, a salaried officer in the PA armed forces.
Oraiba/Aribeh is in the news again today because, as Times of Israel notes, Saeb Erekat, the noted Palestinian Arab "peace" negotiator with the amazing ability to resign from the role again and again and again and still escape mainstream news media ridicule, paid a condolence call to the deceased gunman's family on Saturday.
In images posted by the Palestinian Alawael News Agency, Saeb Erekat, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, was pictured alongside the governor of Jericho and other local Fatah officials sitting with the family of Mazen Aribeh and offering their condolences on Saturday. According to Alawael, during the visit Erekat stressed Palestinians’ right to resist Israel until they achieve their own state with Jerusalem as its capital... Erekat said in response [to criticism from Israel's prime minister today that] he would continue to back Aribe. “I am honored to offer my condolences… on the martyrdom of our son Mazen.” [Times of Israel today]Erekat has called repeatedly for more Palestinian Arab terror attacks against Israelis, though - as we pointed out last week - he disingenuously hides behind circumlocutions like calling this "practising the right of self-defence" and/or "resistance". News reporters understand the silly and offensive game played by Erekat, but for too many, it suits them to play innocent and offer up the man's utterances as if they validated his "peace-making" credentials.
Saturday's embrace of the terrorist's family is regarded in some Arab publications [Al Watan, for instance] as a turning point in the open embrace by PA insiders of the terrorism increasingly embrace by the Palestinian Arab street.
Elliott Abrams reflected in a post on the CFR blog site ["Israel’s “Partner” for Peace", Council on Foreign Relations, December 6, 2015] on how Erekat is
the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel as well as a high PLO official, so one may say the path to peace is in the hands of a man who thinks it appropriate to honor terrorists. The PA and PLO do this all the time, naming parks and schools after killers, but this occasion was especially remarkable. While John Kerry, in Washington, was lecturing Israel about peace in a speech in Washington on Saturday (“But while saying that ‘I understand why Israelis feel besieged,’ Kerry directed most of his cautions toward Israel,” said the Washington Post), there were three more terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israelis on Friday. Maybe Kerry was behind in his news feed. And maybe no one told him that the Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator was busy Saturday, while Kerry was speaking, paying honor to terror. Kerry’s main message in his speech to the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, was that Israel needs to make peace. But where is the partner for peace that Israel needs?It's a fine question. But so long as media analysts and political figures are willing to play along with the not-terror-but-self-defence semantic games of loathsome figures like Erekat and his boss, Mahmoud Abbas, and as long as gunmen and knifers and car-rammers are claimed as Palestinian Arab "martyrs" and role-models, peace is certain to remain a mirage.