Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told Israel Radio on Monday that the brutal massacre of a Jewish settler family by a Palestinian terrorist was “despicable, inhuman and immoral.” But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that until Abbas’ actions match his words, he is just shedding crocodile tears.
The two leaders spoke by telephone on Saturday, when Abbas called Netanyahu to express his condolences over the attack. But for Netanyahu, it was not “diplomacy as usual,” not in the face of such a savage attack.
“Violence should be condemned not only because it contradicts the political interests of the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu reportedly told Abbas. “I expect you to stop the incitement against Israel in schools, textbooks, and mosques, and to educate your children toward peace just as we are doing. The murder of sleeping babies is murder for the sake of murder.”
Abbas responded by playing his usual game of claiming that there is no anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian society, and if no one believes him, they should set up a joint Israeli-Palestinian-American committee to look into the matter.
Such committees have been formed in the past, and have found incitement, which isn’t very hard to find for those truly looking.
In reality, such committees are far from necessary. Just a day after Abbas phoned Netanyahu over the Fogel massacre, and in plain view for everyone to see, his regime dedicated a new square near Ramallah to Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian terrorist who currently holds the record for killing the most Israelis.
“We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement,” said Abbas’ advisor Sabri Seidam as he unveiled a plaque showing Mughrabi holding a rifle against a backdrop map of Israel.
In fact, incitement on official Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority TV may have directly led to the murder of the Fogel family in their home settlement of Itamar in northern Samaria.
In a program aired repeatedly between February 21-24 of this year, PA TV honored the “martyrs” of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of those “martyrs” was Habash Hanani, who in 2002 infiltrated Itamar and killed three students at the local high school.
Palestinian Authority summer camps and sporting clubs are also usually named after prominent terrorists.
Israel argues that by holding aloft as heroes those who kill Israeli men, women and children, the Palestinian Authority is encouraging young local Arabs to follow in their footsteps. After all, who doesn’t want to be a hero?
For Israel this, and not a few Jewish houses on barren hilltops, is the major sticking point of the peace process, and evidence that even if a piece of paper is signed, it will not lead to true peace.