There sat Palestinian Authority chieftain Mahmoud Abbas in the front pew of the Church of the Nativity, reverently observing the Christmas midnight mass. He appeared so meek – the model of admirable moderation, good manners and high morals.
TV anchors and scribblers worldwide fell for his consummate act and expressed solemn appreciation for the affectation. Critical appraisal was conspicuously absent.
Abbas – the on-and-off and now on-again political ally of Hamas and Islamic Jihad – took great pains to quasi-usurp Christmas from Christendom and impart the impression that Christmas is intrinsically also a Muslim celebration, “a Palestinian holiday” from which bogeymen Jews alone deserve exclusion.
Significantly this aroused no protests – the subjugation of Christians in Muslim societies, and foremost in Bethlehem, notwithstanding.
This supposed Christian-Muslim front comprised the gist of the homily delivered by the Mideast’s most senior Roman Catholic, Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad al-Tuwal, a Jordanian Arab.
He effusively welcomed Abbas, congratulating him for “his unfaltering efforts to achieve a just peace in the Middle East, a main thrust of which is the creation of a Palestinian State.” The patriarch commiserated with the Palestinians, who “recently turned to the UN in the hope of finding a just solution.” According to his monologue, “they were asked to reengage in a failed peace process,” which “has left a bitter taste of broken promises and of mistrust.”
And guess who embittered the pitiable Palestinians? Guess who cast a dark, sinister shadow over their Muslim Christmas? Those Jews, of course. Who else?
Living up to the ecclesiastical hype, Abbas wished the worshipers “love and peace” and, presumably in that spirit, proceeded to slam Jewish settlements as “immoral and indefensible.”
“I wish for the Palestinian people that next year will be the year that peace will be implemented in the occupied Palestinian lands,” he said. “We, my brothers, believe in peace and are working to implement peace.”
Had any further elucidation been needed about his concept of peace, Abbas furnished it pre-Christmas when traveling to Ankara to shower affection upon the convicted terrorists deported to Turkey as part of the Gilad Schalit swap.
Muna was actually supposed to be released into Gaza, but refused, citing her secularism as problematic in the Hamas fiefdom. In actual fact, though, she feared retribution.
This insolently unrepentant and most aggressive despot of the women’s prison security wing tortured noncompliant fellow inmates by, among other means, pouring boiling oil and wax on them.
Turkey was understandably her preferred destination. She now plies the school-lecture circuit there, vowing to return to active “combat against the Zionists” and exhorting pupils to become shahids (martyrs).
Muna – for those who forgot – is the fetching Fatah operative who via Internet contact lured 16-year-old Ophir Rahum to a cruel death on January 17, 2001. In a way, her atrocity is even more gruesome than the more common forms of Arab-inspired carnage. She might not have claimed as many lives as some of her compatriots, but what she did was spine-chillingly up-front and personal.
She schemed to get her hands on a Jewish kid, chose her victim with coldblooded deliberation, falsely befriended him and lured him in a premeditated hunting expedition that began long before 20 AK-47 bullets riddled Ophir’s young body.
The homicide was meticulously and maliciously plotted and executed painstakingly over months, in scrupulously calculated phases, to wrest an unsuspecting boy from his protective environment and trick him into a rendezvous with a hail of bullets.
Ophir yearned to make love not war. He embodied the shared Israeli dream of peace and bliss. With stars in his eyes, he was enticed. He wanted to believe the pretty decoy who flirted with him, the sly impostor who posed as “Sally.”
The striking seductress arranged to meet the smitten schoolboy. He traveled from Ashkelon to Jerusalem; she picked him up at the bus stop and drove him away. Eventually her accomplices shot his kneecaps and she, as per her own crowing account, stood there, taunting him and cackling mirthfully as he screamed in pain before being put to death. She still often derisively mimics his last cries.
One would expect that Abbas, feted abroad as the prince of moderation, would at least wash his hands of murderous Muna and condemn her unequivocally. Instead, this supposed man of peace has made Muna his Ramallah regime’s poster-child – the object of reverence and compassion, and a model for emulation.
That speaks volumes, because the lionized icon’s underlying moral code inevitably characterizes the collective that sponsors and supports her.
The Turkish get-together wasn’t Abbas’s first public embrace for Muna. It wasn’t inadvertent, nor was it an isolated, inconsequential political gesture. It was preceded by accolades aplenty.
In 2008, for instance, Abbas handpicked five female recipients for the PLO’s highest medal of heroism – the al-Quds Mark of Honor. All the women he named were then behind Israeli bars. This was touted as “a humanitarian gesture,” geared to highlight their “sacrifice and suffering as Israel’s captives, to raise their morale and pay tribute to them.”
The five included Ahlam Tamimi, pivotal in the August 9, 2001, atrocity at Jerusalem’s Sbarro Pizzeria. She escorted the suicide bomber to the eatery where he killed 15 persons, including seven children and five members of a single family. Muna, too, starred among Abbas’s designated heroines.
Predictably the international community made no fuss about Abbas’s choices. Neither did Israel’s own left wing.
Apparently, when chronic peaceniks have nobody to appoint as their interlocutor, they pretend that the hypothetical lesser evil is humanity’s great hope for the greater good.
Yet by paying lavish homage to child-slayers, Abbas endorses terror and escalates Palestinian psychological warfare, which – in order to manipulatively tug at the heartstrings of progressive do-gooders – camouflages mass-murderers as prisoners of conscience, persecuted altruists and vindictively incarcerated political philosophers.
Abbas cunningly postures as Israel’s hapless victim, as a saint on the side of the angels, indeed as a victim of terrorism rather than its devious promoter. His heart is artlessly in the right place. He seeks to do the right thing – which he would sincerely do, were it not for those obstructionist Israelis.
Doesn’t Abbas, after all, respectfully promise on every occasion to quell incitement within his latifundia?
Seemingly in the enlightened vanguard of the global good-guy brigade, Abbas convinces willingly gullible saps of what they’re anyway predisposed to imbibe. The watching world voluntarily laps up his fabrications and encouragingly promotes the PA figurehead’s deception.
However, the inescapable subtext of glorifying Muna is that her crime is Abbas’s true ideal – his prescription for all Israelis. In a better world, this truth wouldn’t be eclipsed by the sanctimonious chatter of the charming charlatan, seemingly spellbound by Christmas in the Church of the Nativity.
Muna is the benchmark of popular Palestinian intentions toward all Israelis. That’s why Abbas acclaims her malevolence instead of denouncing it, instead of beating his own breast for sanctioning and commissioning her bloodlust.