Archive for the ‘Abbas meets Trump’ category

White House pushes back against Abbas: ‘The time has come to choose’

March 20, 2018

By Michael Wilner March 20, 2018 00:23 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: White House pushes back against Abbas: ‘The time has come to choose’

{I wouldn’t recommend engaging in a war of words with DJT. – LS}

WASHINGTON — The White House forcefully pushed back on Monday night against a fresh round of insults from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hurled at a senior member of the Trump administration, after remaining quiet for months through his attacks following their decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Since that December policy move, Abbas and his aides have repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump and his senior staff. Administration officials have declined to engage. But Abbas’ decision on Monday to target the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as a “son of a dog” and a vestige of the settler movement, was seen in the West Wing as too extreme to ignore.

“The time has come for President Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity,” said Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special representative for international negotiations. “Notwithstanding his highly inappropriate insults against members of the Trump administration, the latest iteration being his insult of my good friend and colleague Ambassador Friedman, we are committed to the Palestinian people and to the changes that must be implemented for peaceful coexistence.”

“We are finalizing our plan for peace,” he added, “and we will advance it when circumstances are right.”

Heather Nauert, spokesperson and acting undersecretary for public diplomacy, called Abbas’ comments “outrageous and unhelpful.”

“We urge the Palestinian Authority to focus its efforts on improving the lives of the Palestinian people and advancing the cause of peace,” Nauert said. “The administration remains fully committed to those goals.”

Over the last three months, Abbas has said that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv as the “slap of the century” – a move that, in Abbas’ view, disqualifies him from any role in future peace talks between the PA and Israel. His aides have dismissed Greenblatt as a “Zionist,” told US ambassador Nikki Haley to “shut up,” and have repeatedly criticized Friedman over his sympathy for the settler movement.

In that time, Trump administration officials have accepted the rhetoric as an understandable venting of anger in light of the Jerusalem moves. But Greenblatt’s new remarks suggest they have reached their limit of tolerance, as they put final touches on the president’s peace plan.

The plan “won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side,” Haley told a Chicago university last month.

The administration has declined to say when details of the plan will be published.

The Left’s Abbas problem

June 6, 2017

The Left’s Abbas problem, Israel Hayom, Jonathan S. Tobin, June 6, 2017

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

***********************

For the Israeli Left, talk about Palestinian incitement is nothing more than an excuse invented by the Right to avoid peace. The same largely applies to their views about the Palestinian Authority’s payments of more than $1 billion in just the last four years in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.

The PA’s ongoing efforts to inculcate new generations in the ideology of hate that has driven the century-long war on Zionism is itself a barrier to peace. It also ensures that any effort to end the conflict will run counter to notions of Palestinian identity that are inextricably linked to that war.

But if you believe that Israel’s chief objective must be to achieve a separation from the Palestinians and an end to its presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem regardless of what happens or who governs a Palestinian state, you view the issue differently. If you think separation is the only way to preserve a Jewish majority in the Jewish state and to protect both Israelis and Palestinians from the burden of the occupation, statements of support or even subsidies for those who commit violence are side issues or distractions that obscure the big picture.

Yet opponents of the Netanyahu government are making a big mistake when they downplay these issues. Though they doubt the motives of those who point out what the Palestinian Authority have been doing and even agree with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that both sides incite, they are missing the point. A failure to address these questions has been the Achilles’ heel of the Left ever since the Oslo Accords were signed. Doing so is not only political poison, it also sends the wrong message to Palestinians who they insist are, against all evidence, viable partners for peace.

The issue of incitement is at the center of the discussion now because U.S. President Donald Trump has decided it is important. Trump was sufficiently ignorant of the history of the conflict and how the PA operates that he actually seems to have believed Abbas’ assurances about not supporting incitement or payments to prisoners that the PA leader made during their initial White House meeting.

But when the Israelis pointed out to him that Abbas was seeking to pull the wool over his eyes, and backed it up with video evidence, he didn’t like it. More than that, he rightly understood that this lie was an obstacle to achieving the unlikely diplomatic triumph he craved.

That led to Trump reportedly pounding the table and accusing Abbas of being liar when they met in Bethlehem. Since it would be difficult for Abbas to suddenly alter the nature of what is published in PA newspapers or viewed on PA television to mollify Israeli or Western sensibilities, let alone cease payments to the very same terrorist prisoners who are lauded by Palestinians as heroes, Trump’s insistence on these points was no small controversy.

The Left deplores Trump’s embrace of this issue and puts it down to a clever strategy implemented by Netanyahu. But if that’s all they think there is to it, they’re repeating the same mistakes that ensured the failure of peace talks in the past. In the 1990s, both the Clinton administration and Labor-led governments saw PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s words and actions as merely fodder for domestic Palestinian political consumption. But the result of that policy was not only to convey to the PA that it could transgress with impunity; this spirit of complacency also materially contributed to the collapse of faith in the peace process once Palestinian actions moved from words to bombs in the Second Intifada.

The Left’s problem is not just that serious observers understand the implications of incitement and material support for terror and that not enough people share their belief that Israeli actions are as bad or worse than those of the Palestinians. Nor are most Israelis likely to be persuaded to view actions of self-defense undertaken by their government as morally equivalent to the PA’s support for terror. Just as important is that a Palestinian leader who felt constrained to engage in behavior that engendered such deep mistrust among Israelis would be unlikely to muster support for an end to the conflict among his own people, even if he wanted to make peace.

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

Jonathan S. Tobin is the opinion editor of JNS.org and a contributing writer for ‎National Review.

Palestinians: Abbas’s “Culture of Peace”

May 8, 2017

Palestinians: Abbas’s “Culture of Peace”, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, May 8, 2017

(Please see also, Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit. — DM)

Thanks to Abbas’s falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about “Jewish invaders and settlers storming” Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

Perhaps by a “culture of peace” Abbas means calling — as he and his top officials regularly do — Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe “culture of peace” means calling all Jews “occupiers” and “colonists” — or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers?

Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists — a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas’s “culture of peace,” one has to wonder what he would consider a culture of war?

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas may soon be known for his sense of humor. Like many Palestinians, Abbas believes that Westerners will swallow his lies wholesale. Abbas, for instance, ended his May 3 meeting with US President Donald Trump with the following whopper: “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”

Abbas did not provide further details about the “culture of peace” upon which Palestinian children are being raised. Nor did anyone bother to ask Abbas or any member of his entourage to provide examples of the “culture of peace” in Palestinian society. Yet major Western media outlets were quick to publish Abbas’s unmistakable lie.

US President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the White House, on May 3, 2017. (Image source: White House video screenshot)

Apparently, like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas is convinced that Palestinians can fool “all of the people, all of the time” about their true goals and intentions. Arafat lied to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when he told them that he and the Palestinian Authority were promoting peace and coexistence with Israel. Under Arafat, anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, schools and mosques intensified until Palestinians waged the Second Intifada in September 2000. This intifada was the result of seven years of vicious incitement and indoctrination that came after the inception of the PA. In a truly ironic turn of events, the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993, gave the Palestinians media outlets, including television and radio stations, which were then used to amplify hatred against Israel and Jews on a daily basis.

Arafat used these media outlets to tell his people — when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000 — that Israel was planning to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. It was precisely this incitement that triggered the Second Intifada, in which Palestinians wage a massive and ruthless campaign of suicide bombings and drive-by shootings that caused the death of hundreds of Israelis.

Under Arafat, it was anything but a “culture of peace.” His message to the Palestinians was: “We will march towards Jerusalem and we will sacrifice millions of martyrs on the way!”

Unlike many Israelis who were murdered by Palestinians at Arafat’s incitement, Arafat’s famous battle cry is still alive and well. Currently, it is being echoed by many Palestinians, including children, during rallies and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This call-to-arms openly encourages Palestinian youths to “march towards Jerusalem” and become “martyrs.”

Only one week before the Abbas’s meeting with Trump, the PA president’s Fatah faction called on Palestinians to take to the streets and clash with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The call was made in “solidarity” with Palestinian prisoners who went on a “hunger strike” in Israeli prisons. The hunger strike was not about Israel’s prisons, well-known for being among the most comfortable in the world; the hunger strike was actually a political move to compete for which terrorist would be Abbas’s successor. The prisoners are terrorists, most of them with blood on their hands; the more blood, the higher the promotion.

In the fight for Palestinian leadership, being a “graduate” of an Israeli prison is far more important than being a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The Palestinians’ former prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, an economist and reformer adored in the West, received only 2% of the Palestinian vote.

By calling for clashes with Israelis, Fatah is inciting Palestinian youths to carry out violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers. This is the same Fatah led by Abbas — the same Abbas mouthing lies about a “culture of peace.” By voicing solidarity with convicted murderers and praising them as role models and heroes of Palestinians, Abbas’s Fatah pushes Palestinian youths to follow in their footsteps and engage in violence.

One day after the Abbas-Trump meeting, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, participated in a rally in Ramallah, in solidarity with the hunger-striking terrorists. At the rally, Hamdallah affirmed the PA’s full support for the terrorists, by saying he was working to bring their case to the attention of the international community.

Like Arafat, Abbas continues to use alleged but non-existent threats the al-Aqsa Mosque to incite Palestinian youths against Israel. For the past 50 years, non-Muslims, including Jews, have been permitted to visit the Temple Mount as tourists. The visits were suspended when the Second Intifada began in 2000. But since the tourist visits resumed a few years ago, the Muslims have been trying to keep Jews away from the holy site. The Muslims claim that Jews are seeking to “destroy” and “desecrate” the al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Temple Mount) — a false claim that is added to the long list of lies and blood libels spread by Abbas and many Muslims. Abbas’s statement came in response not to any incidents at al-Aqsa Mosque, as Abbas and other Palestinians claimed: Tours of Jews to the Temple Mount are routine and peaceful.

In September 2015, Abbas stated that he “welcomed every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem.”

Shortly after this statement, Palestinians began waging a campaign of knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis, in a violent insurgency known as the “Knife Intifada”. “We will protect Jerusalem and we will not allow them [Jews] to defile al-Aqsa (Mosque) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with their filthy feet,” Abbas deceitfully announced.

It is still unclear why he decided to bring the church into the controversy surrounding Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. What is clear is that Abbas was lying: Jews had not entered either the church or al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ever since Abbas’s inciting statement, however, dozens of Palestinian youths have heeded his call by going out to stab or run over the first Jew they see. Their blood is on Abbas’s hands. He is the one who sent out the youths to “protect” al-Aqsa Mosque against the fictitious Jewish “invaders.” He is the one who continues falsely to talk about “herds of settlers storming al-Aqsa Mosque” — in reality, peaceful routine visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Thanks, however, to Abbas’s falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about “Jewish invaders and settlers storming” Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

This, evidently, is the “culture of peace” to which Abbas is referring. How can he utter such a staggering lie when his media and top officials continue to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews on a daily basis? How precisely is Abbas promoting peace when his Palestinian Authority names schools and public squares after Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands? Earlier this year, for example, Abbas’s Fatah named a youth camp in Jericho after Dalal al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded more than 70, in 1978.

By honoring the murderers of Jews, Abbas is, instead, solely promoting a culture of hate and violence. His message to Palestinian youths is, straightforwardly: the more Jews you kill, the more honor and respect you will receive from your people.

Abbas talks about a “culture of peace” at a time when he and his Palestinian Authority are even combating all forms of “normalization” with Israel. The anti-normalization campaign, in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, targets any Palestinian who dares to meet with Jews (even “pro-Palestinian” Jews). It operates solely under the auspices of the PA government. This campaign also promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Its goal is to intimidate Palestinians who work towards peace and coexistence with Israel and to ban any business with Jews. Can any Palestinian invite Jews to a meeting in Ramallah without being targeted by the “anti-normalization” thugs, many of whom are affiliated with Abbas’s Fatah?

Perhaps by a “culture of peace,” Abbas means calling — as he and his top officials regularly do — Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe “culture of peace” means calling all Jews “occupiers” and “colonists” — or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers? Those seem like debatable ways to advance his “culture of peace.”

Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists, a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas’s “culture of peace,” what, one wonders, would he consider a culture of war?

Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit

May 8, 2017

Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit, MEMRI, May 8, 2017

(Consider the source. Abbas will get what he seeks when he teaches pigs to fly. Whoops. Pigs are haram. Please note the absence of any reference to Palestinian incitement of children and others to commit acts of terror and payment of Palestinian “heroes” in Israeli jails — both of which President Trump has insisted cease. Perhaps more important, were the Palestinian Authority to have elections, Hamas would likely win. The excerpts from the article do not mention Hamas– DM)

On May 7, 2017, the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam published a detailed article on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s May 3 visit in Washington, titled “The Secrets and Details of President [‘Abbas’s] Visit and Talks in the U.S. Capital.” The article, by the daily’s U.S. correspondent ‘Abd Al-Rauf Arnaut, described ‘Abbas’s meetings with American officials as relaxed, and the hosts’ reception of ‘Abbas and his delegation as warm and respectful.

The article presented lengthy quotes from ‘Abbas himself about his meeting with Trump. According to ‘Abbas, he clarified to Trump that the Arabs oppose terrorism, no matter its type or its source, and that the Palestinians support a two-state solution rather than a two-state solution. He presented the Arab peace initiative as a basis for peace between Israel and the entire Arab world following an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, and focused on the need to find a creative solution for the refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194,[1] stressing that otherwise it would not be possible to end the conflict. ‘Abbas also presented Trump with maps showing the history of Palestine from 1937, in order to demonstrate the steady contraction of the territories intended for the Palestinians and the vital need to halt construction in the settlements.

The following are excerpts from the article:[2]

“This wasn’t President ‘Abbas’s first visit to the White House, but it was different in its details from all the previous visits. After Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, Arab officials and analysts hurried to say that the Palestinians had become “irrelevant”, but within 100 days [of the election], the relations and the chemistry between the Palestinian and U.S. presidents developed to a point that [proved them to be] shamefully wrong.

“President Trump and his team were unfamiliar to the Palestinians, since, unlike previous [U.S.] presidents, such as George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama, they did not emerge from the American [political] establishment. In contrast to some leaders of Palestinian factions who criticized the new U.S. president based on Israeli statements, President ‘Abbas opted for a quiet diplomacy whose results became evident later, during his visit to the White House, which he has characterized as successful.

“After talking a great deal about the cold shoulder turned to ‘Abbas by the new inhabitant of the White House, and the implications [of this attitude], analysts found themselves faced with a sight that even many Palestinian officials had not imagined they would see. [Thanks to preparatory] measures and arrangements that preceded the meeting at the White House, a new bond was formed that is bound to become [even] clearer during Trump’s visit to Bethlehem on May 23, 2017.

“President ‘Abbas said: “The visit was preceded by several [preparatory measures]. About six weeks ago, after Trump entered the White House, the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, was invited to Washington for a meeting with his American counterpart, and he indeed came there and met with many U.S. political and military officials. [Gen. Faraj] returned with a lot of information, indicating that a new era had dawned in Washington and that we could expect new developments because there was a new [president] in that country who might present fresh ideas regarding the Palestinian issue. We were very pleased with this [preliminary] meeting.

“In a closed meeting with Arab ambassadors to Washington, [‘Abbas] said: “Immediately after that, shortly after the appointment of Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA [on January 23, 2017], we were told he would come for a visit [in the PA] and he indeed came to Ramallah and we held lengthy meetings with him. He is an experienced man, for he was a member of Congress, so our cause was not unfamiliar to him, although we may have had to fill him in on some of the details. At the end of the meeting, he said: ‘I will now go [straight] to the airport and [fly to] Washington, for I want to present the minutes of this meeting to President Trump, who has a meeting scheduled tonight with Binyamin Netanyahu.’

“The CIA director was the first [U.S. official] to meet with the [Palestinian] president… and even though certain elements tried to claim that the contacts between the Palestinians and Americans were [confined to] the security level, these contacts continued on the diplomatic level [as well].

“President [‘Abbas] said: ‘The second step came one week later, when President Trump called me. This was the first time he called [me. He] greeted me and then invited me to the White House, saying, ‘I’ve heard all sorts of things about you, but I want to hear more from you, because I want to find a solution to the [Palestinian-Israeli] conflict. He repeated his invitation several times, and then told me that he had a great deal of confidence in several of his aides, including Jason Greenblatt,[3] and that he would soon send [Greenblatt] to us so we could talk with him.’

“The [next] step was [indeed] a meeting between United States Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and President ‘Abbas in Ramallah. President ‘Abbas said: ‘Greenblatt arrived and I had a lengthy and comprehensive meeting with him, because I assumed he needed to learn the details. I [recounted all the developments] from Oslo until today, step by step, and described the entire Palestinian issue in full. Then I tried to answer all the questions I figured he might have, and when I was done he indeed said, “I have nothing left to ask, this was a useful meeting.”‘

“The [next] step was a meeting between Greenblatt and President [‘Abbas] on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, at the periphery of the Arab League summit. President ‘Abbas said: ‘Greenblatt returned to Washington and then came back to [visit] us during the Arab League summit in Jordan, where he met with many Arab foreign ministers.’

“Concurrently, preparations for the [Trump-‘Abbas] summit were also made during the visit to Washington of a [Palestinian] delegation that included Dr. Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian intelligence service and PLO Executive Committee secretary-general Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, and Dr. Muhammad Mustafa, President [‘Abbas’s] economic advisor. Preparations were also made at the level of the leaders of Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, all three of whom had been invited to the White House. President ‘Abbas said: “We had been invited [to Washington] and we prepared for the visit, but [even] before this, at the Arab [League] summit which was [dedicated to the issue of] Palestine, Jordan’s King ‘Abdallah II initiated a three-way meeting with Egyptian President ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi and myself so we would go to Washington with a single unified message. King [‘Abdallah] and President [Al-Sisi] had been invited [to Washington], but the date of my own visit had not yet been set. So the three of us met and discussed in detail the message we would present to Washington.’ He added: ‘King ‘Abdallah and President Al-Sisi [later] informed us about what had transpired [during their meetings] in Washington. They conveyed the same message, and that helped us a lot. Then it was decided that I would come here, to Washington, and I arrived, held some side meetings and then we went to the White House.'”

The Meeting With Jared Kushner

“Upon President ‘Abbas’s arrival in Washington, more meetings were held between the Palestinians and Americans. Far from the media, a first meeting took place between President ‘Abbas and Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner left a very positive impression on ‘Abbas, [who called him] ‘a polite man who wanted to gain a good understanding of the situation [and who] asked very polite questions about all the topics he wished to understand.’ This meeting was held on the eve of the president’s arrival at the White House.

“Up until the meeting at the White House, Palestinian officials differed in their assessments. Some expected a smooth and easy meeting while others were afraid of last-minute surprises.”

The Meeting With Trump

“The meeting went as Palestinian officials hoped it would, and was very positive, as was clearly evident from President [‘Abbas’s] reception at the White House.

“President [‘Abbas] naturally slept that night, after the long flight and because of the time-difference. The next morning he was cheerful as he prepared for his first visit to the White House during the Trump presidency. When he arrived, Trump met him at the door and accompanied him as he went to sign the guestbook. Then the two went into the Oval Office, and there, in the presence of the media, Trump greeted President ‘Abbas and shook his hand multiple times. Then they visited President Roosevelt’s historic office at the White House, where each delivered a statement, before shaking hands once again and turning to the Cabinet Room, where the U.S. cabinet holds its meetings.

“In the Cabinet Room, U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson sat to the left of the U.S. President and Vice President Mike Pence sat to his right. Also present at the meeting were U.S. National Security Advisor Gen. McMaster as well as Kushner, Greenblatt, the White House Chief of Staff, and U.S. Consul General [in Jerusalem] Donald Blome. Apart from ‘Abbas, the Palestinians present included Dr. Saeb Erekat, Gen. Majid Faraj, Dr. [Muhammad] Mustafa, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu ‘Amr, ‘Abbas’s advisors Nabil Abu Rudeineh and Majdi Al-Khalidi, and Palestinian ambassador to Washington Husam Zomlot.”

‘Abbas: This Is What Happened At The White House

“As for the details of the visit, ‘Abbas said: ‘After signing the guestbook and delivering our statements to the press, [Trump and I] sat down together and I made every effort to present our wishes and our ideas [to him]. I told him explicitly: We, the united Arab nation, all oppose terror and combat terror, of every type and from every source. [Terror] is alien to us as a nation, alien to our culture, and that is why we stand up against it. Secondly, as for the political situation, we Palestinians believe in the solution of two states, namely Israel, which already exists, and a Palestinian state that we want to establish in the 1967 borders, whose capital is East Jerusalem. I told [Trump], if someone gets it into his head to speak about a one-state [solution, you should know that] we opt for the two-state [solution]. But if someone [nevertheless] mentions the one-state [solution, you should know that] there are two options. [The first option] is a racist discriminatory state, in which there are two regimes, [one for Palestinians and another for Jews], as is the case today in the Palestinian territories. Obviously, we will never agree to this and nobody in the world will agree to it. [The second option] is a binational state. I believe that they [the Israelis] reject this [option] out of hand, and I have [in fact] heard this from [them] on more than one occasion. So we are left with the solution of two states: a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, and Israel. We want a state in those borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital’…

“‘Abbas then turned to explain the Arab peace initiative, using a one-page document prepared by the Palestinian president’s office, which included the details of the plan and the flags of the Arab countries that had approved it. President [‘Abbas] said: ‘I told Trump: We have the Arab initiative that was adopted at the 2002 Arab [League] summit in Beirut, which, in my opinion, is the most valuable initiative ever achieved for resolving the Palestinian problem. [The plan] is neither long nor complicated. It includes two main clauses.’ President [‘Abbas] explained to President [Trump] that the first clause says that if Israel withdraws from the Palestinian and Arab territories, all the Arab countries will be willing to form [diplomatic] ties with it, and that this initiative has been approved by more than one Arab capital and at many Arab and Muslim summits, for example in Istanbul, Iran and Pakistan…’ President ‘Abbas explained to the U.S. President that the flags on the document represented the countries that have approved the Arab peace initiative and have expressed willingness to recognize Israel if the latter withdraws from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories.

“[‘Abbas also] explained to Trump that the [Arab] initiative proposed a just and agreed-upon solution to the refugee problem based on [UN Resolution] 194. The problem needs to be solved in a creative way based on the UN resolutions, [he said]. It must be resolved in order to resolve the conflict… We insist on this solution [to the refugee problem] because do not want only a peace treaty between ourselves and Israel, we want to end the conflict between ourselves and the Israelis. If the refugee problem remains unresolved, the conflict will remain as well.’

Historical Map Of Palestine

“President ‘Abbas then presented the U.S. President with a map showing Palestine from 1937 until today, to demonstrate how the Israeli occupation is eating away at the Palestinian territories. He said: ‘The maps explain the Palestinian problem… starting with the map of historical Palestine, through the first partition plan of 1937, the second [partition plan] of 1947, and then 1948. What [territory] is left to us? In the end [we have only] what the Israelis have left the Palestinians [after] building their settlements in the Palestinian territories.’ ‘Abbas said, ‘If construction in the settlements continues… how will we be able to establish a Palestinian state? That is why we oppose the settlements and regard them as illegitimate. This should be the basis for handling them at the [negotiation] table.’

“This explanation took up about 15-20 minutes of the face-to-face meeting between the two presidents. Then the two went to the Cabinet Room, where the American and Palestinian teams joined them. In the Cabinet Room, the Palestinian officials spoke, each about his area [of expertise], and explained the Palestinian position on each issue.

“President ‘Abbas said: ‘To sum up, we felt that the man [Trump] was serious and is eager to find a solution soon. Indeed, we hope that this is the case. I told him that we are prepared to send a delegation to the U.S. immediately in order to start negotiations, as they see fit.’ He added: These are our basic [principles], these are our positions, and we are demanding no more than the [implementation of the] U.N. resolutions. I felt that President Trump is very willing to proceed, and I am very pleased about that. I am not saying that he agreed with me, but at least he listened to me with great interest and in a positive manner. I hope he was convinced [by me], but this takes time, and I think that he should know further details.’

Outstanding Reception

“The observers were unanimous that President ‘Abbas received an unusually [warm] welcome in the White House. The Palestinian flag was prominently displayed in many places, especially in the historic Roosevelt Room, where it was stood behind the U.S. President as he gave his address. Several hours after the meeting, dozens of top U.S. officials and intellectuals in Washington, including the President’s harshest critics and representatives of organizations such as AIPAC, hurried to a large hall in the Mandarin Hotel in order to congratulate President ‘Abbas on the successful meeting. Many made sure to have their photo taken with him. The next day, there was another American surprise, when the White House announced that President Trump had accepted the invitation to visit the Palestinian territories. President ‘Abbas said that he was pleased about this visit and hoped that it would lead to something new.”

_______________________

[1] It should be noted that the Palestinians and the Arab states, unlike Israel, hold that this resolution recognizes the refugees’ right to return to their homes and also to receive compensation. It should be noted that the issue of the refugees’ return or compensation was not mentioned in the original Saudi peace initiative, but was added later under pressure from Syria and Lebanon in what became the “Arab peace initiative.” See “The Warped Saudi Initiative” by Itamar Rabinovich, Haaretz (Israel), April 4, 2002. For the article in English, see Haaretz.com, April 7, 2002.

[2] Al-Ayyam (PA), May 7, 2017.

[3] A Jewish-American lawyer who served as executive vice president and chief legal officer to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization, and as advisor on Israel during his presidential campaign. In January 2017 Trump appointed him United States Special Representative for International Negotiations.

Mahmoud Abbas is personally responsible for the high salaries to terrorists

May 4, 2017

Mahmoud Abbas is personally responsible  for the high salaries to terrorists, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, May 4, 2017

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted yesterday that President Trump brought up the issue of salaries to terrorists in his meeting with PA Chairman Abbas:

“The president raised concerns about the payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed acts of terror and to their families and emphasized the need to resolve this issue.” [https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/03/press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-532017-44]

As international pressure is mounting on Mahmoud Abbas to stop payments to terrorists prisoners, it should be recognized that Mahmoud Abbas himself is personally responsible for the high salaries that terrorists receive. In 2010, Mahmoud Abbas amended the Palestinian Prisoners Law, dramatically raising salaries to terrorist prisoners. Prior to that, salaries ranged from 1000-4000 shekels a month; now they start at 1400 shekels and can reach as high as 12,000 shekels each month.

In 2014, the PA transferred responsibility for payments to prisoners from the PA to the PLO in order to hide the PA responsibility for payments from the international community. At the time, Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein again stressed that Abbas himself was personally responsible for the sharp rise in salaries to prisoners:

Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein: “Who else has elevated the cause of the Palestinian prisoners other than President Mahmoud Abbas? All the laws, the tenfold increase of the budget of the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] – [all this] was done during the tenure of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and according to the wishes of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas…

If we go back to the source, which is the PLO, which will take care of the [prisoner] issue… we eliminate the international pressure and the attempts to tamper with this issue, so sensitive and holy to our Palestinian people. The [Palestinian] leadership wants to keep this holy issue away from the influence of the donor countries, the interference of the donor countries, and the occasional negative influence of the donor countries, by giving it [the prisoner issue] its holiness and assigning it to the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people. Who is the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people? The PLO… All the authority, all the laws, the budget, the officials and staff will be a part of the Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Commission, which will belong to the PLO, to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to the Executive Committee of the PLO.

[Official PA TV, June 1, 2014]

Click to view 

Not only is Abbas personally responsible for paying salaries to terrorists, by his own admission he is responsible for sending terrorists to kill Israelis. Abbas told official PA TV in 2005, right after the PA’s five-year terror campaign (i.e., the second Intifada) had ended, that all the terrorist prisoners must be freed because they did not murder of their own volition but were sent to murder by the PA:

Mahmoud Abbas: “I demand [the release of] prisoners because they are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do. We – the [Palestinian] Authority. They should not be punished while we sit at one table negotiating… This is war. One (i.e., Israel) ordered a soldier to kill, and I ordered my son, brother, or others, to carry out the duty of resistance (i.e., PA euphemism for terror). This person killed and the other person killed… He [the Palestinian prisoner] is a fighter just like any other fighter. We were in a state of fighting. When a truce is reached, in any country in the world, the past is forgotten… [If prisoners are not released] the ordinary citizen will ask me: ‘What did you get me? You ordered me – you are responsible for me.'”[Official PA TV, Feb. 14, 2005]
Click to view

Abbas indicates that, as the person who “ordered” the terrorists to kill, he is just as responsible as the killers in prison. Because of his direct responsibility for sending the terrorists, it is unlikely that Abbas will agree to stop rewarding them financially.

Former Jordanian Culture Minister: No Problem With U.S. Moving Embassy To West Jerusalem

May 1, 2017

Former Jordanian Culture Minister: No Problem With U.S. Moving Embassy To West Jerusalem, MEMRI, May 1, 2017

In an April 30, 2017 article titled “Unpopular Statements,” Tareq Al-Masarwa, Jordan’s former culture minister and a senior columnist for the government daily Al-Rai, wrote that the U.S. can move its embassy to West Jerusalem[1] because the Palestinians and Arabs do not claim that part of the city. He called on the Arabs to face reality in light of the fundamental changes that have occurred in the Arab world in the last few years, and discard illusions of victory and fairytales about resistance.

The following are excerpts from his article:[2]

Tareq Al-Masarwa (image: Ahkelak.net)

“The Americans can move their embassy to the new [part of] Jerusalem [i.e. the western part] without sparking any serious rage among the Arabs. This is for the simple reason that the Palestinians and Arabs demand the Old City [of Jerusalem] – which they lost in the 1967 war, known as the Six Day War – as the capital of their state. I have not heard anyone demanding the 1948 part of Jerusalem [i.e., West Jerusalem], neither Hamas, the PLO nor anyone else.

“There is talk about U.S. President [Donald] Trump visiting the region [soon], including the hotspots of Israeli-Palestinian tension. Although the man is known for the promises he made before and after the elections, he can play the game of ‘Jerusalem the capital [of Israel]’ without causing awkwardness for [either] U.S. policy or his allies…

“I do not mean to seem like a spoil-sport. The U.S. president will meet Abu Mazen [Mahmoud ‘Abbas on May 3, 2017] and this meeting is meaningful, despite everything that is said about [Trump] constantly changing his mind according to his whim. The Palestinian president will demand a demilitarized state, to exit securely alongside Israel. The [late Palestinian] president Yasser Arafat also agreed at some point to the formula of ‘administrative autonomy’ in return for [permission to] return to Palestine. The Israeli occupation, [for its part,] has already come to terms with all the characteristics of the Palestinian state, except for the aspect of changing its basic designation [i.e., calling it a state rather than an authority or an autonomy].

“Today many things have changed, and much water has passed under the bridge, as the saying goes. It’s time to face the bitter reality. Who thought that the Syria disaster would enter its seventh year, that Iraq would [have to] borrow money to pay the salaries of its civil servants, that an Arab war would rage in Yemen, and that Libya would return to the state it was in before King Idris unified its three provinces?

“[King] ‘Abdallah II managed to revive the [Arab League] summit on the Dead Sea and to strike a pact of Arab cooperation in this region. It’s time to face reality as it is, without the illusion of victory and the fairytales about resistance, for we are not in the best of situations.”

________________________

[1] Senior journalist ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed made similar statements in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6764, Prominent Saudi Journalist: West Jerusalem Is Part Of Israel; Moving The U.S. Embassy There As Part Of Overall Peace Agreement Could Herald The End Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, January 31, 2017.

[2] Al-Rai (Jordan), April 30, 2017.

The Agenda for the Trump-Abbas Meeting

April 27, 2017

The Agenda for the Trump-Abbas Meeting, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, April 27, 2017

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The day after Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day, US President Donald Trump will greet PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The date of their meeting, May 3, is notable not least for its timing.

The timing of the meeting presumes a linkage between the establishment of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is not merely obnoxious, it is also blind to reality.

In reality, an independent state of Palestine has existed for the past 12 years in Gaza. Rather than build that up and declare independence, Abbas and his comrades surrendered Gaza to Hamas in 2007.

Hamas, in turn, transformed independent Palestine into a base for jihad.

Abbas’s failure to declare independence in 2005 – and the subsequent failure of his US-trained forces to defend their control over Gaza in June 2007 from Hamas terrorists – is generally overlooked. But it is critical that Trump understand the significance of his behavior before he meets with Abbas.

Since the inception of the peace process between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the professed goal of the PLO has been to establish an independent Palestinian state on any territory over which it was able to take control from Israel. Yet 12 years ago, when Israel withdrew its citizens and military from Gaza, the PLO refused to take responsibility for the area insisting ridiculously that Gaza was still controlled by Israel.

Then 10 years ago, US-trained PLO forces fled to Israel rather than defend their control of Gaza when Hamas took up arms against them.

There are, it seems, two main reasons for Abbas’s behavior. The first is directly related to how he understood Israel’s decision to withdraw.

In December 2003, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon stunned the country when he adopted the platform of the Labor Party – which he had just massively defeated in the general elections – and removed all Israeli communities and military installations from Gaza, including from the border with Egypt, by the end of 2005.

Israeli society was nearly torn apart in the one year and eight months between Sharon’s surprise announcement and the expulsion of Gaza’s Jews in August 2005. The media hemorrhaged with continuous propaganda that demonized the Israeli residents of Gaza and the religious Zionist community in general.

A reminder of that toxic period came earlier this month, when Haaretz published a column by veteran reporter Yossi Klein in which he alleged that religious Zionists posed a graver danger to the State of Israel than Hezbollah.

Abbas and his lieutenants viewed the domestic chaos that engulfed Israel at the time as proof of Israel being on its way off the stage of history.

If this was how Israelis reacted to the destruction of 21 communities in Gaza (and four in northern Samaria) and the dispossession of 10,000 Israelis, it was clear to Abbas and his comrades that Israeli society would collapse if Sharon carried out his plan to reenact the Gaza withdrawal tenfold in Judea and Samaria after the 2006 elections.

Why accept Gaza if all of Israel was about to be destroyed – by its own hand? The second reason that Abbas didn’t declare independence in Gaza, is because he had no interest in being held accountable for his behavior – as leaders of independent states are. If he accepted sovereign power, then the Palestinians as well as Israel and, presumably, the rest of the world would be able to hold him to account for what happened within the territory he controlled. His ability to blame Israel for his failures would be diminished, at least in theory.

Far better, Abbas concluded, to pretend that Israel’s withdrawal was meaningless and blame Israel for his failure to govern his own territory.

Both reasons for Abbas’s rejection of responsibility over Gaza are important because they also reflect the views of the Palestinians as a whole.

Dan Polisar, from Shalem College, summarized in a recent article in the online magazine Mosaic, his study of more than 400 public opinion surveys of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza taken by professional pollsters over the past 23 years.

Like Abbas in 2005, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe that Israel isn’t long for this world.

In one 2011 survey, for instance, a mere 23% of Palestinians said they were certain that Israel will continue to exist 25 years hence. 44% were certain it would not.

The fact that more than three quarters of Palestinians are uncertain if Israel will survive is not only a function of Israel’s own self-destructive behavior – it is premised as well on Palestinian ideology.

The vast majority of Palestinians reject Israel’s right to exist. Indeed, a mere 12% of Palestinians believe that Jews have ties to the land of Israel.

Polisar showed that, whereas a plurality to a bare majority of Palestinians accepts the premise of a twostate solution, the overwhelming majority reject any deal that would leave Israel intact as a viable state capable of defending itself. Equally importantly, 68% of Palestinians believe that even if a Palestinian state is established in Gaza, Judea and Samaria with Jerusalem as its capital, they should continue to aspire to Israel’s destruction.

In other words, even if the PLO signs a deal with Israel that says the conflict has been resolved, for 68% of Palestinians the conflict will continue. They oppose ending the education of their children to seek Israel’s destruction and accepting Israel as a peaceful neighbor.

This then, brings us to Trump’s visit with Abbas, the day after Israel’s 69th birthday.

What does he intend to discuss with Abbas? From media reports, it appears that Trump intends to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s subsidization of terrorism to the tune of $300 million each year, which it pays out as salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons and as stipends to their families.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News earlier this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Trump to hold Abbas to account for his massive budgetary outlays to terrorists and their families. He asked that Trump demand as well that Abbas stop the PA ’s indoctrination of the Palestinians to seek the annihilation of Israel and the murder of its citizens.

This is well and good. But it seems a bit beside the point. The point is that 69 years ago, the Jews established our state. A Palestinian state was not established then or since, not because Israel was unwilling for such a state to come into being, but because the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist.

If any good is to come from Trump meeting with Abbas – on May 3 or at any other time – then he should send the following message to Abbas and to the rest of the world.

To date, the US has supported the goal of Palestinian statehood, because it convinced itself that the Palestinians were interested in a state that would live at peace with Israel. The US pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to encourage them to accept Israel. And the US funded the PA thinking that doing so would advance the cause of peace. It trained and armed PA security forces for the same reason.

To date, the Palestinians, the PLO and the PA have not lived up to their side of the bargain – on anything.

They have not come to terms with Israel’s existence; they have not abjured terrorism; and they have not accepted responsibility for the areas under their control, either in Gaza, or in Judea and Samaria.

Since his is a new administration, Trump is willing to give Abbas the benefit of the doubt for three months. In that time Abbas needs to stop all financial transfers to terrorists and their families – in and out of prison; he needs to change the names of all the public sites now named after terrorists; and he needs to purge all anti-Jewish content from his PA -controlled media and mosques.

If Abbas fails to do all of these things by August 3, then the Trump administration will abandon its support for Palestinian statehood and its recognition of the PLO .