The idea that Abbas or any other Palestinian leader would rein in Hamas in the West Bank is false and dangerous.
Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank have been taking to the streets on an almost daily basis to voice support for the Iran-backed terrorist group.
This is the same West Bank that the Biden administration and many Westerners are hoping will be part of a future Palestinian state next to Israel. Those who continue to promote the dangerous idea of a “two-state solution” are ignoring the fact that Hamas is sitting not only in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank as well.
Bizarrely, U.S. President Joe Biden and some Western leaders are continuing to talk about the need to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, even after Hamas’s atrocities. What they’re actually saying is: Now that Hamas has used the Gaza Strip to invade Israel and slaughter Jews, let’s give this Islamist terror group the West Bank so it, too, can use it to butcher Jews.
The pro-Hamas demonstrations show that the terrorist group is popular among the Palestinians, including those living in the West Bank. The demonstrations also serve as a reminder that a large number of Palestinians support terrorism against Israel, including sickening crimes such as rape, beheadings, torture and burning women and children alive.
Recent public opinion polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) have shown that most Palestinians support Hamas and the “armed struggle” (murder) against Israel. Every Palestinian child knows that if presidential elections were held today, Hamas would win. The most recent PSR poll, published one month before the Hamas massacre, showed that 58% of the Palestinians would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as opposed to 37% for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The poll also showed that 58% of the Palestinian public supports “armed confrontations and intifada” against Israel.
The pro-Hamas demonstrations have been taking place mostly in those areas of the West Bank controlled by the P.A., headed by Abbas. Although Abbas and other senior P.A. leaders hate Hamas, they are not doing anything to stop the Palestinians living under their rule from taking to the streets to celebrate the murder of 1,400 Israelis and the wounding of more than 5,000 others during the Oct. 7 carnage.
It is worth noting that in 2007, Hamas expelled the P.A. from the Gaza Strip after killing hundreds of Abbas loyalists, some of whom were dragged through the streets and lynched, others of whom were thrown from rooftops of tall buildings.
By failing to curb the pro-Hamas demonstrations, the P.A. is not only complicit in incitement to murder Jews, but also acting against its own interests by emboldening its Hamas rivals. One of the reasons the P.A. is not taking any measures to stop the pro-Hamas demonstrations is because its leaders themselves are also involved in the campaign of incitement against Israel.
Indeed, Abbas’s anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric sometimes appears to surpass that of his rivals in Hamas. One month before the Hamas massacre, Abbas repeated a number of antisemitic canards he has uttered over the years, including that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had Jews slaughtered because of their “social role” as moneylenders.
In a speech broadcast on Palestine TV on Sept. 3, Abbas told leaders of his ruling Fatah faction during a meeting in Ramallah:
“They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true. It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion… The [Europeans] fought against these people because of their role in society, which had to do with usury, money, and so on and so forth.”
It is also worth noting that it was Abbas who initiated the campaign of incitement against Israel with regard to visits by Jewish individuals and groups to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the Western Wall of which is all that is left of the Jewish Temples (destroyed in 586 BCE and 70 CE), and which is Judaism’s holiest site.
In a notorious speech in 2015, Abbas falsely accused Jews who visit their holy Temple Mount of desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount:
“We salute every drop of blood spilled for the sake of Jerusalem. This blood is clean, pure blood, shed for the sake of Allah… Every martyr will be placed in Paradise, and all the wounded will be rewarded by Allah… The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are ours. They are all ours, and they [Jews] have no right to defile them with their filthy feet,” he said.
Abbas’s blood libel was interpreted by many Palestinians as a license to murder. In fact, shortly after Abbas made the accusation in 2015, Palestinians embarked on a spree of terrorism in which dozens of Jews were murdered in stabbing and car-ramming attacks.
Abbas and the P.A. have proven again and again that they hate Israel as much, if not more, than Hamas does.
The P.A. leadership has been waging an unceasing campaign to vilify Israel and demonize Jews, especially in the international arena. The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly accused Israel of “genocide,” “war crimes,” ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.” It has also consistently threatened to file “war crimes” charges against Israelis with the International Criminal Court.
For decades, Abbas has used every available podium, including the United Nations General Assembly, to spread messages of hate and lies against Israel. His ultimate goal has been to undermine and delegitimize Israel to the point where Israel would be completely isolated in the international arena. His daily incitement against Israel has not only empowered Hamas, but also promoted antisemitism around the world.
Since the Hamas pogrom last month, Abbas has refrained from condemning the terrorist group. Instead, he has chosen to hold Israel responsible for the ensuing war. Essentially, Abbas is saying that Israel has no right to defend itself in the face of Hamas’s atrocities. He is also implying that he sees no problem with Hamas having sent thousands of terrorists to invade Israel and brutally murder innocent Israeli civilians.
The idea that Abbas or any other Palestinian leader would rein in Hamas in the West Bank is false and dangerous. Abbas has no problem with Hamas operating in the West Bank, as long as the terrorist group is targeting Israel and not him or the P.A. leadership. That is why he has permitted Hamas supporters to march in the streets of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and other West Bank cities and chant slogans in favor of Hamas.
On Oct. 29, dozens of schoolgirls marched in Jenin, chanting: “We are the daughter of [Hamas arch-terrorist Muhammad] Deif,” “We want Jihad [holy war], we want to die for the sake of Allah” and “We want to blow up the head of the Zionists.” At other demonstrations by Hamas supporters, some of which were held not far from Abbas’s office, Palestinians chanted: “Anyone who has a rifle should either shoot a Jew or give it to Hamas.”
The idea of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank means turning this area into another launching pad for attacking Israel and slaughtering Jewish men, women and children. President Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken can argue as much as they want that Hamas does not represent the Palestinians, but everyone who lives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip knows that this is a lethal lie. Every Palestinian is aware of, and often admires, the pro-Hamas demonstrations that have been taking place in the West Bank since Oct. 7.
Every Palestinian sees, and often admires, the Hamas-affiliated armed groups that emerged in the West Bank over the past two years. Every Palestinian has also seen how Hamas won student council elections at major universities in the West Bank, including Birzeit University and An-Najah University. Every Palestinian, in addition, sees how the P.A. is unwilling to combat Hamas and other terrorist groups in the West Bank.
What appears to be missed by many in the West is that it is Israel’s security and civilian presence in the West Bank that is preventing Hamas, or groups such as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State, from seizing control of the area. What they also do not seem to realize is that Abbas is in power in the West Bank thanks to Israel’s presence there. Without that presence, Hamas would have taken control of the West Bank a long time ago. Creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank would mean turning it into another Iran-led base for jihad against Jews.
It is high time for Biden and other Western leaders to stop pushing delusional ideas that will quickly lead to a repeat of the Oct. 7 massacre. How many Jewish babies must be beheaded or baked alive, one wonders, for them to see that Palestinian leaders have radicalized their people against Israel to a point where they brag about slaughtering Jews with their own hands.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
Image: Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, March 9, 2016. Credit: Flash90.