Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched into a long-winded diatribe last Sunday against President Trump and against Israel’s legitimate right to exist as a Jewish state. Abbas called President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem a “slap in the face” and threatened that the Palestinians “will slap back.” Abbas declared, “Politically, Jerusalem is our capital; in our religion, it is our capital; geographically, it is our capital.” As for Israel, Abbas claimed that “Israel is a colonialist project that has nothing to do with Jews. The Jews were used as a tool under the concept of the promised land — call it whatever you want. Everything has been made up.”
Abbas even insisted that Great Britain apologize and pay reparations for the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration, which had stated British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
One is tempted to agree with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said that Abbas had “lost his senses.” However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was closer to the mark when he observed that Abbas “tore off the mask” of feigned moderation and revealed the “root” of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians – the Palestinians’ “continuous refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders.”
Abbas used his 2½-hour speech to the PLO Central Council to falsify history with anti-Semitic rhetoric worthy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. One problem he has, however, is in reconciling his own current brand of anti-Semitism in defense of an independent Palestinian state with, for example, the brand of anti-Semitism put forth by an Arab leader in 1937, who claimed that the notion of an independent Palestine was a Zionist plot. Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi submitted the following statement in 1937 to the British Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: “There is no such country [as Palestine]! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries, part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it.“
The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the United Nations General Assembly in May 1947 along the same lines, stating that “Palestine was part of the Province of Syria” and that “politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.” A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, who would become the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.”
As late as March 1977 Zuheir Muhsin, executive committee member of the PLO, admitted the following: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. Today, there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.” At least, he was being perversely honest. That’s more than can be said about Abbas, who tries to convince the world of the nobility of the Palestinian cause of self-determination that would come to fruition if only Israel would give up its “occupation” of Palestinian land.
To support his alternative reality that the Palestinians have constituted a separate people from time immemorial, Abbas asserted that the Palestinians have ancient roots in the land they claim as their own, predating any claims by the Jews. “This has been our land since the days of the Canaanites,” he declared. “From the days of the Canaanites and to this day, [our forefathers] have not left this land. They were here before our patriarch Abraham. We were. Since before our patriarch Abraham…” This is an absurd claim on its face, with no historical or archeological evidence to back it up whatsoever.
The name “Palestine” derives from the decision of the Roman emperor Hadrian to change the name of the province inhabited by Jews and conquered by Rome from Syria Judea to Syria Palaestina (from the Greek word “Palaistin”) to try and minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arab Palestinians today are trying to use UNESCO and the false history they pedal to fool people into thinking that they are indigenous to the land while Jews have no historical connection. In that respect, the Palestinians have more in common with the Roman conquerors who tried to separate Jews from their historic homeland than they do with the ancient Canaanites.
The truth is that many Palestinians today are descendants of immigrants from multiple countries in the region who arrived in what was then called Palestine during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Egyptian and Sudanese migrants arrived in the wake of the 1831-1840 conquest by Egypt. Most Palestinian Arabs are descendants of the 1845-1947 Muslim migrants, who came from the Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Bosnia, and other parts of western and central Asia. As Jews emigrated to the Holy Land and developed the area from a barren wasteland, more Arab migrants arrived from other areas to work and take advantage of the economic opportunities that were opening up there for the first time.
Abbas’s cruelest insult in his speech last Sunday was to shamelessly claim that Jews who remained in Europe to face the Holocaust chose on their own not to come to the Holy Land. “The Jews didn’t want to come to Palestine even after what they went through in Europe, with pogroms and even after the Holocaust,” Abbas asserted.
Contrary to Abbas’s outrageous claim, over 60,000 German Jews emigrated there during the 1930s, despite substantial obstacles that included severe restrictions imposed by the British who were administering the area under the British Mandate for Palestine. The British were acceding to Arab demands. Jews who arrived in ships in defiance of Great Britain’s limitations on entry risked being placed in caged buses on the way to incarceration in detention camps. Abbas should be thanking the British for such harsh measures to stem Jewish immigration during the Nazi era.
Talking about the Nazi era, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who served as Mufti of Jerusalem between 1921 and 1936, met with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders in Europe in November 1941. They got along very well, recognizing that the Jews were their common enemy. Two years after that meeting, Himmler wrote al-Husseini a letter stating that the Nazi leaders were “closely following the battle of freedom-seeking Arabs – and especially in Palestine – against the Jewish invaders.”
Abbas regards the Nazi-loving Haj Amin al-Husseini as a hero, referring to him in a 2013 speech lauding terrorist “martyrs” as one of “the pioneers,” according to a translation of the speech made by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Abbas’s bombastic January 14th speech should be no surprise. Abbas remains the anti-Semitic propagandist for the false Palestinian victimhood narrative that he always has been. He remains the hypocrite who claims to pursue a peaceful two-state solution while continuing to praise terrorists and to subsidize the terrorists and their families. He revels in disseminating what Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, correctly described as “vile fabrications” that hark back to “the racist words of the worst regimes of the previous century.” President Trump’s courageous decision on Jerusalem and the pressure he is exerting on continued funding for the Palestinians have forced the real Abbas to show the world his true colors.