Palestinian Authority figurehead Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) has this week assured us – at a meeting with a pre-selected group of left-wing Israeli students – that happy days are (almost) here again. That in itself should suffice to allay our anxieties – all, he says, products of that well-oiled Israeli propaganda machine. If we merely take his word for it, we could sleep soundly.
If Israel only improves its act, and conducts its affairs as per Abbas’s directives, peace and bliss will surely be ours. To hear him, there’s no obstructionism whatsoever on his turf. The obstacles to peace are all Israeli-made. Abbas has absolved himself of any responsibility if things go awry. He’s only seeking justice for an indigenous population oppressed by an artificial entity, a foreign interloper.
Those among us who still possess historical perspectives will recognize the resemblance to contentions made by one Adolf Hitler on the eve of the infamous Munich Agreement, which sold out Czechoslovakia as the alleged cause of all that ailed Europe.
In a long letter telegraphed by Hitler to Franklin Roosevelt on September 27, 1938, the German fuehrer stressed: “I can and must decline all responsibility of the German people and their leaders, if the further development, contrary to all my efforts up to the present, should actually lead to the outbreak of hostilities.” The identical argumentation, minus the national designation, had been repeatedly enunciated by Abbas.
Abbas has a problem with the existence of a Jewish state and like him Hitler couldn’t tolerate the existence of Czechoslovakia. He insisted that the root problem arises from “the founding of the Czechoslovak State and the establishment of its frontiers without any consideration for history or nationality. The Sudetenland was also included therein, although this area had always been German… Thus the right of self-determination… had been simply denied to the Sudeten Germans.”
Hitler accused the “Prague Government” of having “attempted by increasingly violent methods to enforce the Czechization of the Sudetenland. It was inevitable that this procedure should lead to ever greater and more serious tension… Political persecution and economic oppression have plunged the Sudeten Germans into untold misery. To characterize these circumstances it will suffice to refer to the following:
“We reckon at present 214,000 Sudeten German refugees who had to leave house and home in their ancestral country and flee across the German frontier, because they saw in this the last and only possibility of escaping from the revolting Czech regime of force and bloodiest terror. Countless dead, thousands of wounded, tens of thousands of people detained and imprisoned, and deserted villages, are the accusing witnesses before world opinion of an outbreak of hostilities.”
Similarly, Abbas postures as the dogged defender of the downtrodden. Pay heed to the pitiable noises he makes, totally sidestepping the issue of Arab-instigated wars and terror: “It’s a big shame on you, what settlers do against us; without any reasons they come and kill, uproot trees… They slaughter us, they kill my sheep and my livestock. It’s a shame on you. And by the way, every time we take one step toward peace it takes us back 20 steps, because our people wonder, what is peace with these people?”
And this pose of blamelessness and victimhood is followed up by yet another show of seeming helpfulness, equanimity and unimpeachable reasonableness. Abbas agrees that incitement is in the air but, claims he, it’s equally present in Israel.
“There is incitement on my side. I admit it but let’s discuss it. And the Israelis don’t want to admit it,” he blathered in apparent earnest, suggesting that what was needed was a third-party “arbitrator” to judge who incites more because “incitement is a germ that would harm the atmosphere and the desire for peace, so let’s remove it. We want to remove it but we haven’t heard any response” from the Israeli side.
Yet again, the real culprit is Israel and the cooperative spirit resides exclusively in Ramallah. Presumably there are comparable Israeli parallels to the following lyrical gems (courtesy of the Palestinian Media Watch) from Fatah (the outfit Abbas personally heads:
These are just isolated examples of the unremitting glorification of bloodshed on Abbas’s Palestinian TV, in the print media he controls, the educational system he runs and the mosques under his aegis. In contrast, Israel’s secular state schools encourage their young charges to regard things with postmodern dispassion, almost as if they were detached foreign observers who ascribe the same weight to any “narrative.”
If that’s incitement by Abbas’s scales, then he can indignantly brush aside all the nagging questions still raised by his scholastic endeavors at Moscow’s Communist-era Russian University for Friendship between People (a.k.a. the People’s Friendship University of Russia, also a.k.a. the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University).
As befits Friendship U’s academic ambiance, Abbas specialized in revising history, an enterprise which in 1982 ripened into a PhD dissertation that both dwarfed the Holocaust and blamed Zionists for it. Two years later Dr. Abbas further embellished his “research” and published it in book-form. He never apologized nor retracted a single nuance of his erudite treatise, which has in recent years become a compulsory component of the Palestinian school curriculum.
Nimbly skipping over all that, Abbas appeared to mollify his Israeli audience by denying that he is a Holocaust-denier. “I have written about it and I know that millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.” There, that settled it and hence Abbas can resume feigning innocence: “How do I deny the Holocaust? Did you read the book?”
His The Other Side: the Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism,” should indeed be recommended reading at all Israeli academic institutions (if assiduous political correctness did not stringently prohibit discussion thereof). Nevertheless, here are a few telling tidbits:
“…it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller – below one million.”
“It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater… This led them to emphasize this [six million] figure in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism.”
“A partnership was established between Hitler’s Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement … [the Zionists gave] permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine.”
“Having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over. However, since Zionism was not a fighting partner – suffering victims in a battle – it had no escape but to offer up human beings, under any name, to raise the number of victims, which they could then boast of at the moment of accounting.”
All the trustworthiness evoked by the above excerpts – and there’s plenty more in the same learned vein – should determine the degree of faith with which we approach anything Abbas says. Foremost are his protestations that he has no intention “to inundate Israel with millions in order to change its demography. It is nonsense that you read in the Hebrew media.”
This doesn’t quite square with Abbas’s oft-reiterated avowal – like that just proclaimed before a group of East Jerusalem Arabs – that he would “never negotiate away that absolute right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return” to sovereign Israel.
Could it be that Abbas speaks with a forked tongue? Could he just possibly be making different promises to different listeners? Is that why he promises us free access to the Western Wall (which he demands come under his jurisdiction)?
Of course, our holiest site already was under Arab occupation (from 1948 to 1967). International agreements then too solemnly guaranteed unhindered access to all Jewish holy sites. Nevertheless, all access was prohibited, 58 synagogues in Jerusalem’s Old City were razed to the ground and ancient tombstones from the 3000-year-old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives were ripped out and used to construct public latrines.
Still, there appear to be some boundaries that even Abbas cannot cross – like recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state. All the same, he characteristically belittles the significance of his refusal: “What do you want from us? You made peace with Jordan and Egypt and didn’t demand such recognition. If you want recognition of Israel as Jewish state you can go to the UN and ask for it.”
We have news for Abbas. Jordan and Egypt, unlike the Palestinians, never sought to replace the Jewish state and the UN already granted us recognition, back on November 29, 1947 – when it divided this tiny land into two entities – one Jewish and one Arab.
The Jews rejoiced. The Arabs declared genocidal war to prevent the birth of a Jewish state. All that has transpired since is the continuation of that war and the ongoing conflict still stems from the refusal to abide a Jewish state.
In 1947 the Arab world didn’t want a Palestinian state – it wanted to destroy the Jewish state. It still does. A nondescript state, temporarily called Israel, will forever remain a candidate for Arabization – one way or another. As long as the legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is not accepted, the Arabs will continue to wage their war to do away with what they cannot accept.
That’s why Abbas’s honeyed blandishments and professions of peaceful intent are as convincing as were Hitler’s when he inveigled Neville Chamberlain to choose appeasement at Munich. The “painful sacrifices” of September 29, 1938 – all Germany claimed to be after – hardly sated Hitler’s appetites. On March 16 1939, he invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia.