TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ senior advisor said U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Americans in general were motivated by a “satanic urge” and had “lost all morals” for implying that there is no so-called Israeli occupation.
“One of the representatives of the superpowers – who some people consider to be the most expert and knowledgeable people, the greatest supporters of justice, and the greatest democrats – one of them [U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman] spoke several days ago about the occupation, which is clear even to the biggest idiot, and all the more so to a wise man,” Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash explained in a Friday sermon attended by Abbas and broadcast of official PA TV.
“Regarding the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine – he [Friedman] said that it is an ‘alleged occupation,’ in other words: ‘You claim there is an occupation? It isn’t really an occupation.’ What idiocy is this? What satanic urge motivates these people? These are people who have lost all morals, who watch the oppressed and support the oppressors and stand by their side,” Al-Habbash added in remarks translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
Al-Habbash’s outcry – and that of the PA in general – was a response to an interview Friedman gave last week to the Jerusalem Post in which he rejected the notion that Israel is an occupying force, choosing instead to phrase it by using the term “alleged occupation.”
Friedman was quoted saying the following during a Jerusalem Post interview:
“I think the American Jewish community tends to look at Israel somewhat myopically,” he said. The Right, he said, is portrayed as believing that peace is not possible. The Left, he explained, is portrayed as believing that only if the “alleged occupation” ended would Israel become a better society.
As Breitbart Jerusalem’s Aaron Klein observed:
Friedman was questioning the claim that Israel’s communities in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem amount to “occupation.” The West Bank houses ancient Jewish cities like Hebron — home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Judaism’s second holiest site — Beit El, Shiloh, and other areas. Eastern Jerusalem includes the Jewish Quarter in the Old City as well as the Western Wall and Temple Mount, the holiest sites in Judaism.
Klein cited international law to pen a larger piece arguing that Friedman was “correct” to question the Palestinian narrative of “occupation.”
UK-based newspaper The Guardian then confirmed with the Jerusalem Post that Friedman was accurately quoted.
The report went on to quote a PA official as saying: “Mr. Friedman should realize that denying facts doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.” As Klein points out, “this is the same PA that denies archeological evidence of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and wildly claims that the Jewish Temples never existed.”
This isn’t the first time Al-Habbas – the PA’s most senior religious leader – has used the word “satanic” to describe any support of Israel. At the beginning of the latest wave of violence in the fall of 2015, following several terror attacks in which Israelis were murdered, Al-Habbash called Israel “Satan’s project” and continued by explaining that the Israeli-Arab conflict was nothing new, rather it was a “historic conflict” against Jews who have been supporters of “the satans,” representing falsehood and evil in the world.
“This is a conflict between two entities, good and evil, between two projects: Allah’s project vs. Satan’s project, a project connected to Allah, which is his will – true and good – and a project connected to oppression and Satanism, to Satanism and animosity, occupation and barbarism,” Al-Habbash declared in a sermon broadcast on PA TV.