It has been a tough week for our Palestinian neighbors. A week they would rather forget.
It started with the decision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to rebuff Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime for the use of chemical weapons in recent years. The condemnation was expected, as was the fact that a number of Assad’s allies, like Russia, voted against the motion. But the big surprise was the Palestinian Authority’s opposition to the resolution.
Thousands of Syrian opposition activists in turn condemned the Palestinians for opposing the motion, and vowed that Syrians in the future would no longer help or cooperate with “Palestinian issue” (e.g. condemning Israel).
The criticism was unprecedented, as thousands came out of the woodwork to slam the Palestinian Authority (PA) over its support for one of the biggest dictators in the Arab world today. How is it, they wondered, the Palestinians, who claim to be freedom fighters, can back a dictator who has killed a million Syrian people and forced more than 10 million more to flee the country, to say nothing of the millions more wounded and the vast destruction. There is no doubt that the Palestinian cause has lost some support following the vote.
But if you thought this was the scandal of the week then you were wrong. Just a few days ago a tape was leaked in which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was heard cursing the whole world including China, Russia, the United States and most importantly, all the Arabs!
The recording was allegedly made during a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee on April 19. One of the participants [Abbas Zaki] asked President Abbas if he had anything to say following the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party, since Abbas Zaki is in charge of ties with China.
In response Mahmoud Abbas lost his temper and started cursing right and left. A short portion of the rant can be seen here with Hebrew subtitles:
This recording made waves in the Arab world and became the talk of the day. How could a president express himself in this manner?
Many media outlets in the Arab world awkwardly quoted the remarks and even conducted investigations. As expected, the PA and those close to Mahmoud Abbas claimed that it was a forgery. They insisted the voice in the recording was not that of the president, and that the entire episode was a conspiracy against him ahead of upcoming elections. Others have argued that this is his voice and that this is not the first time Abbas has spoken out against presidents or states. In the past, he cursed US President Trump.
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In any case, millions of Arabs on social media have been exposed to the blunt words of Mahmoud Abbas, including those countries that have helped Palestinians, like China, which recently transferred tens of thousands of vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority. Is that the gratitude they get in return? What about the US? The Biden Administration has renewed financial and political assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and is this their reward? Many Arabs have been left scratching their heads.
But what’s really got people buzzing is why Abbas’ string of curses didn’t include Israel. If we consider all the nations he did curse, we are talking about billions of people, more than half the planet. That’s certainly got the conspiracy theorists thinking. At any rate, Abbas will no doubt make up for leaving out the Jewish state at his earliest opportunity.