Has Mahmoud Abbas been taking instruction from Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran?
The Palestinian president’s recent moves have been straight out of the Iranian playbook: make moderate noises and however ludicrous they may be, the West will be so desperate to avoid facing up to the reality of murderous extremism it will take them on face value.
Iran has been playing this to perfection. Its newish president, Hassan Rouhani, mouthed enough of the right platitudes to make people assume he was a terrific guy — even though Iran is still proceeding towards nuclear weapon breakout capability.
Abbas has understood what the Iranians grasped: that Washington will do anything to be seen to have achieved a deal. Consequently, the US will not act against him whatever he does, while it dumps on Israel instead.
So Abbas has behaved accordingly. His attitude to the Kerry negotiations was to say no to everything and wait for the US to blame Israel — over the “settlements”, of course, surely the most spectacular red herring ever to have swum in the fetid waters of diplomacy. The US duly obliged.
Then Abbas fatally undermined the negotiations by applying to join 15 international treaties in order to get spurious recognition for “Palestine”.
Finally, he destroyed the negotia-tions altogether by making a pact with Hamas. Even the Obama administration conceded it was probably asking a bit much of the Israelis to negotiate their country’s existence with a bunch of thugs pledged openly to annihilate it.
But Obama still blamed the Israelis as well as the Palestinians for being obstructive. Well, you can see his point: new houses on one side, genocide on the other. So, equally bad then.
Ah, said Abbas, but Hamas will recognise Israel, ratify all agreements and renounce violence. At which point the same type of folk who fawn over Rouhani proclaimed peace in our time and the beginning of the end of the Middle East conflict.
But it is beyond belief that Hamas, with its charter raving about destroying Israel and the Jews, is now ready to live in peace with Israel. And indeed Hamas itself says it’s bunk, with its leaders queueing up to say it would neither recognise Israel nor renounce violence.
Oh — and Abbas repeated he would not recognise Israel as a Jewish state. So he, too, wants Israel to disappear. What he recognises, in other words, is merely that Israel does exist, not that it should be allowed to exist.
No matter. The wishful thinkers are swooning over Abbas calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era”. So what? He has acknowledged the Holocaust before. As he wrote in his doctoral thesis, he thinks the Jews helped perpetrate it.
And now he plans to form a government with people who want to bring about another one.
Sheikh Younis al-Astal heads Hamas’s Clerics Association of Palestine. In 2008, al-Astal called for a mahraqa, or burning, of the Jews. The same year on Hamas TV another cleric, Muhsen Abu Ita, declared: “The annihilation of the Jews in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine.”
In fact, the Fatah/Hamas pact is unlikely to last. Abbas intends rather to use it to make mischief for Israel in the West by manipulating public opinion.
The proper US response would be to isolate the PA and bring this lethal farce to a close. Of course it will not. Abbas, like Iran, has understood that Washington is deserting the West’s friends and empowering its enemies. For allies against these evils, Israel must now look elsewhere.