Last week, one of the most horrifying acts of terrorism occurred in Itamar when five members of a Jewish family, including three children, were murdered in their beds, their throats slit. The very next day, members of Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah party conducted a grotesque and obscene ceremony naming a square near Ramallah in honor of Fatah Jew-killer, Dalal Mughrabi, which included numerous pictures of a Kalashnikov-carrying Mughrabi circling the square. At the ceremony, Fatah member Sabri Seidam said, “We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement.”
Some American Jewish leaders including myself spent four days of intense lobbying urging President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to themselves specifically condemn the Fatah honoring of Mughrabi and to demand of Mahmoud Abbas’ PA that it immediately terminate incitement to hatred and murder against Israel and Jews in its schools, media, and speeches, and rescind the dozens of streets, schools, city squares, youth camps and sports tournaments named in honor of killers of Jews.
Nevertheless, Obama and Clinton have refused to condemn Mahmoud Abbas and his PA for this horrific, anti-peace, pro-terror incitement, even though he must understand that the glorification of Jew-killers only helps create an atmosphere which increases the likelihood of this type of massacre occurring.
The only statement this Administration made about the glorification of this Jew-killer has been from a minor State Department official, the acting deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, who said merely that “we condemn this commemoration” and urged PA officials to “address it” – but doesn’t condemn Abbas or his ruling Fatah party, under whose auspices this ceremony occurred. Shockingly, Mr. Toner added that “all parties have an obligation to end any form of incitement” – falsely implying that similar incitement comes from the Israeli side as well. But from President Obama himself and Secretary Clinton herself – a deafening silence. Surely, Obama and Clinton would never have remained silent if Israel named a square after a Jewish killer of Arabs.
In contrast, when Israel approved construction of twenty apartments for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, both Obama and Clinton personally and forcefully condemned Israel. Both have been free condemning and criticizing Israeli actions with which they disagree.
This is a clear-cut case of incitement and glorification of murder, carried out by Abbas’ own dominant political movement. This fact is evaded by the Obama Administration. In the recent past, the Obama Administration has whitewashed Abbas and the PA when compelled to comment upon instances of incitement.
When pressed by former Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) to investigate the extremist, pro-terror Fatah platform adopted at its 2009 Bethlehem conference, the Obama Administration pretended that Fatah had done nothing of the kind. When, last year, another square was named in honor of Mughrabi, the Obama administration said nothing for days before Secretary Clinton falsely claimed that a Hamas-controlled municipality was behind the naming.
The ZOA is deeply concerned that a horrible message is being sent to Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular that the United States doesn’t care about these anti-Semitic criminals, that there will be no consequences for these ugly acts.
Only two weeks ago, at a White House meeting with Jewish organizational leaders, President Obama said to those in attendance that you ‘must speak to your Israeli friends and relatives and search your souls to determine how badly do you really want peace!’ He went further, ‘Israelis think this peace business is overrated; their life is good, their economy is good, and things are quiet.’ In strong contrast, several times during the meeting, he emphasized how serious Mahmoud Abbas and Salaam Fayyad are about peace, saying, ‘Abbas and Fayyad offer the best prospects for peace…Israel’s partner is sincere in wanting a peaceful settlement…they have been more forward, less apt to resort to bad rhetoric’. President Obama also stated that ‘Israel has not sufficiently tried to make an acceptable offer…is the Netanyahu government serious about territorial concessions. He needs to show he’s serious about that.’ Clearly, President Obama doesn’t think PA incitement to hatred and murder is much of a problem in the scheme of things.
What does President Obama’s shocking, unbelievable and frightening refusal to condemn the Fatah/PA for honoring and glorifying of a major Jew-killer a day after an anti-Israel massacre, tell us about Obama’s true feelings about Jews and Israel? Perhaps President Obama should be searching his soul about his feelings, actions and policies toward the Jewish state of Israel.
This refusal to condemn PA incitement must stop. Conditioning further U.S. aid on an end to Palestinian incitement, without which no peace is possible, must start.