Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — labeled as a "moderate" by both Washington and the media — spoke last week to a rally of Fatah supporters in Ramallah.
His message was for Palestinians to stop killing each other. But rather than merely call for communal peace, he urged them to murder Israeli Jews instead. Abbas called for Palestinians to turn their guns and rifles on Israeli Jews, saying: "We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation. It is forbidden to use these guns against Palestinians. … Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at the occupation."
Iran's notorious President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have been proud to deliver a speech such as that given by the supposed moderate Abbas.
This was not just a case of one small, revealing statement of extremism from the P.A. leader. On the contrary, in this speech, Abbas praised the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat and other Fatah terrorists killed in attacks on Israelis as "martyrs," as well as specifically saluting Sheik Ahmed Yassin, one of the founders of the terrorist group Hamas. In fact, he openly conferred legitimacy on all Palestinian terror groups and all anti-Israel terrorist acts committed by them, saying: "No one [here] is a criminal." He also spewed hatred of Jews: "The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth."
Just as important as what Abbas said is what he did not say.
Not once did Abbas condemn or even disapprove of continuing rocket attacks and attempted suicide assaults on Israel by Hamas and his very own Fatah movement.
Thus, the speech is no aberration. After all, he has, in the past, called Israel the "Zionist enemy"; stated on Palestinian TV that neither Fatah nor Hamas need to recognize Israel; said of suicide bombers that "Allah loves the martyr"; and described wanted terrorists as "heroes fighting for freedom."
It bears repeating that Abbas not only co-founded the terrorist group Fatah with Arafat — and served as his deputy for 40 years — but that he also funded the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972, and wrote a doctoral thesis and published a book denying the Holocaust.
Yet the man's extremist actions speak even more loudly than his extremist words. As P.A. president, Abbas has refused to implement the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 road-map peace plan, which require him to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists, confiscate their weaponry, and end the incitement to hatred and murder in P.A.-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps.
Last year, Abbas endorsed the so-called "Prisoners' Plan," a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, and does not accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state. In December 2005, Abbas approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to the families of killed Palestinian terrorists.
Clearly, Abbas has no intention of ending Palestinian terrorism, which completely invalidates that he is a peace partner. It's a mistake for the Bush administration to continue to lavish praise upon Abbas. The United States has also already given Abbas 7,000 assault rifles and 1 million rounds of ammunition. Worse, it was reported last week that the Bush administration intends to pour $86 million into the armed forces of Abbas.
Jews often invoke the phrase "Never Again" to make it clear that they will never permit the policies and attitudes that permitted Adolf Hitler to perpetrate the Holocaust to recur. But Jewish leaders are simply lying about their commitment to that imperative when they say nothing about Palestinian calls for the murder of Jews, the firing of Kassam rockets into Israel, continuous smuggling of heavy weaponry from Egypt into Gaza, and ignoring the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in every aspect of Palestinian culture.
It's high time for America and Israel to stop whitewashing Abbas' pro-terror and anti-peace actions — and tell the truth.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.