Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday finally condemned last Thursday’s abduction of three Israeli youth by Palestinian terrorists. But, can Israel take seriously the belated condemnation?
First, it should be noted that Abbas also condemned Israel’s military efforts to find and rescue the kidnapped boys, thereby drawing moral equivalence between the abduction and Israel’s reaction to it.
Abbas’ remarks echoed a statement issued a day earlier by his foreign ministry, which accused Israel of launching a “fierce attack against the Palestinian people,” and all but justified the abduction of the three Jewish youths because they are “settlers” whose presence in Judea and Samaria is “illegal.”
Even more egregious were the celebratory expressions from bodies and institutions affiliated with the Abbas regime.
The state-run Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Sunday featured a large World Cup logo, just as it has every day since the international sporting event began. But Sunday’s logo was a little different.
Instead of the 2014 World Cup logo of three hands holding the globe, the Palestinian paper displayed three hands holding three people with their own hands in the air in surrender. And instead of the name “Brasil” below the logo, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida printed “Khalil” - the Arabic name for Hebron, near where the three boys were abducted.
The official Facebook page for Abbas’ ruling Fatah movement went a step further, featuring a cartoon depicting the three abducted Jewish boys as rats being baited by what appears to be a Palestinian fishing pole (pictured).
And really, none of this should come as much of a surprise. Because despite what he says in English while under pressure, Abbas is on record as supporting efforts to take Israeli hostages in order to free jailed Palestinian terrorists.
In a 2011 interview with Palestinian Authority TV, Abbas said, “Hamas kidnapped a soldier (Gilad Shalit) and managed to keep him for five years - that’s a good thing.”
Jibril Rajoub, a senior aide to Abbas, said as recently as January of this year, “If Hamas wants to kidnap soldiers… we encourage them. When they kidnapped Shalit we congratulated them.”
[Palestinian media translations provided by Palestinian Media Watch]