TEL AVIV – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to condemn the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism, including the murders of a 13-year-old Israeli girl on Thursday and a father of 10 on Friday, and is also dodging phone calls from world leaders demanding that he denounce the attacks.
Abbas had released no official statement as of Saturday night responding to Thursday’s murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was asleep in her bed when 17-year-old Muhammad Taraireh broke into her home and stabbed her to death, or the drive-by shooting on Friday afternoon of Rabbi Miki Mark.
On Saturday, Israel’s local Channel 2 news reported that several Israeli and world leaders had tried to contact Abbas to speak out against the attack on the teenager, but the Palestinian Authority chief was refusing to take the calls.
Abbas also demanded that local Palestinian media refrain from including the attacks in their headlines.
Channel 2 cited Abbas’ fears that the PA’s control is diminishing and his growing concern that the Israeli cabinet will take steps to weaken him further.
Abbas is also enraged at the International Quartet’s report denouncing the PA’s glorification of terrorism.
“Many widely circulated images depict individuals committing terrorist acts with slogans encouraging violence,” the much-anticipated report, released Friday, states.
It pointed to Hamas and “other radical factions” as being the worst inciters to violence. “These groups use media outlets to glorify terrorism and openly call for violence against Jews, including instructing viewers on how to carry out stabbings.”
But it also accuses “members of Fatah,” Abbas’s party, for having “publicly supported attacks and their perpetrators, as well as encouraged violent confrontation.”
The report cites a senior Fatah official who praised terrorists as “heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian.”
The report notes that the PA has also praised non-violent resistance and renounced acts of terror but “Palestinian leaders have not consistently and clearly condemned specific terrorist attacks. And streets, squares, and schools have been named after Palestinians who have committed acts of terrorism.”
The PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Friday slammed the report, saying it “does not meet our expectations as a nation living under a foreign colonial military occupation” and “attempts to equalize the responsibilities between a people under occupation and a foreign military occupier.”
Predictably, the Quartet’s report does not let Israel off the hook, with much of it dedicated to condemning Israel’s settlement policy.
Following the death of Ariel, Netanyahu called on PA leaders to “clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement.”
“Enlightened nations must join in this demand,” Netanyahu added. “They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens.”
The wave of Palestinian violence that began in the fall, which includes stabbings, car rammings, and shootings, has claimed 39 Israeli lives so far.
When the wave of terror first broke out, Abbas declared in an interview with PA TV, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shahid [martyr] will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
Abbas later described the wave of knife and gun attacks as a “justified popular uprising.”