Christian Living

ChrisM 08/16/07

Should the U.S. Support Mahmoud Abbas?

Here's how two Israeli newspapers described the photo op the other day with U.S. President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

"There could hardly have been more agreement between President George Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at their White House press conference. They both saw a bright side of the disaster in Gaza. As Olmert put it, 'I'm absolutely determined that there is an opportunity.'" The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2007

"Everything is just perfect, really. The US president is friendly and he is showing a sincere fondness for our prime minister. They are both transmitting on the same wavelength and their intentions are good. There's only one minor problem: Their new vision regarding the Palestinian question is just a castle in the sand." YNet, June 20, 2007

"The castle in the sand" YNet describes is the ongoing Western and Israeli support for Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority. Here's how The Jerusalem Post described this ongoing support:

"In the Wall Street Journal, historian Michael Oren points out that since 1993, 'the [Palestinian Authority] has garnered more international aid than any entity in modern history -- more, per capita, than the European states under the Marshall Plan. The policy of showering Palestinians with aid has patently failed and, in the case of West Bank as Fatahland, is tantamount to investing in the Titanic.'" The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2007

The U.S., European and Israeli support of the Palestinian Authority is based on the premise that Abbas is "moderate," a "partner for peace."

But several sobering sources undermine this notion.

David Bedein from "Israel Behind the News" reported on a summary of Palestinian textbooks done by Dr. Arnon Groiss. Groiss holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at Princeton University and serves as a senior researcher for the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace.

"In his presentation, Groiss brought up numerous examples of how the new Palestinian textbooks teach that Israel is solely responsible for the conflict and the Palestinians are Israel's victims. The Arab armed opposition to the U.N. Partition Resolution of 1947 is not mentioned, nor is the invasion of seven Arab armies on the day that Israel declared independence in 1948. Groiss assembled a list of 25 accusations against Israel that appear in the Palestinian school books, which include the following:

* Israel contributes to Palestinian social ills and family violence

* Israel causes the increase of drug abuse cases in Palestinian society

* Israel pollutes the Palestinian environment

* Israel usurps Muslim and Christian holy places

* Israel strives to obliterate the Palestinian national identity and heritage

The books also glorify those who kill Jews and achieve martyrdom; one book reads: '..The flow of blood gladdens my soul, as well as a body thrown upon the ground, skirmished over by the desert predators.'

"In other cases, martyrdom is described as a wedding party. These new Palestinian schoolbooks thus obliterate Israel as a sovereign state, present it as an enemy that one should fight to the end. In other words, in Grioss' words, "they teach war rather than peace." The Evening Bulletin, June 20, 2007

Earlier this year, on January 9, 2007, Brig.-Gen. Shalom Harari, a senior research scholar with the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, gave a presentation to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He concluded that Iran is not only supporting Hamas, but Fatah as well:

"Iran is involved in supporting both the Islamic factions and Fatah, as well. Today, at least 40 percent of Fatah's different fighting groups are also paid by Hezbollah and Iran. Many Fatah members are sitting on the fence. They don't know which side to take and, in the meantime, Hamas is growing stronger with money sent from Damascus and Iran."

Later in the year, on April 19, 2007, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, the head of the IDF Southern Command, gave another presentation to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

"Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades is already an Iranian organization similar to Islamic Jihad. This has occurred because the Iranians understood that it was easy to connect with its members, even though they are Sunni and not radical Muslims. This is where money makes the difference. A few years ago, the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Judea and Samaria was bought out by Iran and activated against Israel according to Iranian instructions. All the terrorists groups are not the same and have major problems among themselves, but right now they have a common goal -- to push Israel, as well as the Americans, from the area."

Given the ties of Fatah to Iran, the kind of education it promotes in its textbooks and the long history of squandered aid, the question many are asking is, "Why should the U.S. government continue its support of this 'moderate' Palestinian Authority?"