Mass murderer moderate Mahmoud
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, under pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, uttered a few words on Tuesday that appeared to condemn the barbaric attack by two Palestinians in a synagogue in Jerusalem. (The killers, of course, will soon be recognized as martyrs by Abbas' political party Fatah, and all the other Palestinian groups, which are even more extreme).
The attack, which has so far killed five Israelis, as well as the two murderers (a mild term, really for those who slaughter rabbis and others with an axe or knife while they are praying), could have had a far worse outcome, though others in the hospital on life support or in critical condition may soon be added to the death toll.
Some 30 people were praying at the time of the attack, and the goal of the killers was to murder them all. Israeli police prevented a worse bloodbath, and it is a virtual certainty now that synagogues will be added to other institutional venues in Israel that require more security. Had the monsters been more "successful" before they were shot to death by the Israeli police, then CNN could have headlined "32 dead in mosque attack in Jerusalem," and the BBC could have shown pictures of the two dead Palestinians while refusing to show any of the 30 Jewish or Israeli casualties, and The New York Times could have used its typical passive voice to describe the attack this way: "Violence breaks out in Jerusalem, 32 dead." Someone needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with violence and keep him from breaking out in this way. That is the road to peace.
The attack clearly had no impact in preventing or delaying the latest disgrace from Europe, where Spanish legislators showed their concern for the dead and wounded by voting to recognize the nonexistent state of Palestine.
Kerry has hardly been an innocent party in recent months, repeatedly blaming Israel for the breakdown of peace talks that due to Palestinian lack of interest in even participating in a peace process, never got to a stage where they could break down. His spokespeople at the State Department, amateur-hour incompetents Jen Psaki and Marie Harf, have treated Israel like a pinata, particularly during the recent Gaza war, when Israel just could not do enough in their eyes to protect Palestinian civilians (despite their being regularly used by Hamas as human shields, and with 12-year-olds sent off to fight). Better it seems that Israel had a right to defend itself (all criticisms of Israel begin this way), but did nothing, since any Israeli attack or bombing might involve civilian casualties, presumably something new in the history of war. Yesterday, Psaki criticized Israel's demolition of the houses of the mass-murdering duo, since it was an obstacle in the path to peace. That path, in the minds of some in the Obama administration, including possibly President Barack Obama, himself, involves the eventual disappearance of Israel as a Jewish state.
Kerry has argued that one of the principal reasons for the growth and success of Islamic State (particularly its recruitment of new jihadists) has been the failure of Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace and a two-state solution. After all, if we have learned anything the past few months, it is that there is nothing the jihadist recruits want more than the two-state solution, and Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security. Presumably, these recruits share the vision of Kerry and Martin Indyk and Obama.
But it is worth giving credit where credit is due, and yesterday Kerry issued a very tough statement condemning not only the attack in the synagogue but the incitement by Palestinian officials that has precipitated and fueled not only this atrocity but many such attacks in recent months. Kerry called Abbas and demanded he issue a condemnation of the attack (Abbas' first, of course, since the start of the campaign of violence that he has supported).
Abbas' latest version of the big lie has been that Jews are planning to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and take over the Temple Mount. Abbas described how Jews were "contaminating" the Temple Mount with their presence. That kind of language presumably is why Abbas is regarded by Western peacemakers as a moderate, and the man with whom Israel must negotiate, since he offers a rare (always final) opportunity to achieve peace and a two-state solution. Presumably, Israelis who meet with Abbas have gone through a decontamination process before they are in his presence (e.g., converting to Islam).
This latest intifada, including car attacks, vandalism of the Jerusalem light rail, stabbings, and Tuesday's mass murder, were part of a campaign designed to achieve nothing more than dead Jews. Dead Jews are always a reason for Palestinian celebration, yesterday creating joyous moments in both Gaza and the West Bank. Not entirely coincidentally, the latest wave of attacks provided a public relations boost for Abbas and his party. In Palestinian society, the resistance -- those most purposeful and effective in killing Jews and fighting and denying Israel's right to exist and calling for its destruction -- are always the most popular on the street. Hamas fought the war in Gaza.
Fatah now needs to look like it is doing its part where it has authority. Jonathan Schanzer described Abbas' political calculus: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attacks and hammered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for inciting the ongoing violence in Jerusalem. Similarly, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the 'senseless brutality,' and called on Abbas to do the same.
"Abbas soon stepped up. It was his first condemnation of any attack in Jerusalem since the unrest began last month, Indeed, the aging Palestinian leader is walking a tightrope. On the one hand, lone wolves are by definition not under the control of Abbas nor other Palestinian political organizations. And it is also true that Abbas has not been the driving force of the Jerusalem unrest. But at the same time, he does appear to be making an effort to benefit from the tensions, seemingly seeking to ride this current wave of nationalist fervor."
In order to insure that every Palestinian will understand not to take Abbas' condemnation too seriously, Fatah spokespeople were more direct in their warm praise for the bloodletting: "Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars, your axes and kitchen knives ... because [they are being used] according to Allah's will. We are the soldiers of Allah."
And then there is Obama, who is never anything but evenhanded when such attacks occur. He too condemned yesterday's attacks, since they targeted "innocent civilians."
The choice of words may not be accidental. The innocent civilians were in a synagogue on the Israeli side of the Green Line, what the diplomats call West Jerusalem, though the Obama administration recognizes no part of Jerusalem as being part of Israel at this point. If the attack had occurred at a synagogue in Judea and Samaria, would there then be some guilt associated with the civilians who were murdered, hence they were not such innocent civilians? What about a mass murder of Israeli soldiers? Does the president consider them innocents as well when they are slaughtered?
The president went on to make his traditional plea for the peace living people on both sides, a majority in each case, to work for peace and to lower tensions: "Speaking before a meeting with national security and public health officials, Obama said that the 'majority' of Palestinians and Israelis 'overwhelmingly want peace.'
"'Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time I think it's important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence,' Obama said."
Certainly yesterday and in the weeks prior, there is no evidence that a majority of Palestinians or their leadership were interested in demonstrating their overwhelming desire for peace with Israel. From such bromides, fantasies that last decades are created.
There is really only one truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since its inception -- the Palestinians (or simply Arabs, as they used to be called) will not accept Israel as a state for the Jews. The Palestinian national movement has as its principal goal the denial of a state for another people.
That goal now requires Israel's destruction, hence death to the Jews, innocent civilians be damned.