Within the past month, Palestinian Media Watch has reported that Mahmoud Abbas has honored Issa Abd Rabbo, who brutally murdered two Israeli university students, Ron Levi and Revital Seri in 1984 while they were hiking south of Jerusalem. He had tied the two up at gunpoint, placed bags over their heads, and then proceeded to murder them in cold blood. Abd Rabbo is presently serving two life sentences for this horrific act of terrorism. Yet, this has not stopped Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s supposed partner for peace, from exalting him.

Last month, Abbas sent Secretary-General Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim to the family home of Issa Abd Rabbo’s family in the Deheisheh refugee camp with the express purpose of honoring his actions. According to the Wafa News Agency, “Representing President Mahmoud Abbas… [Abd Al-Rahim] spoke with Issa’s mother and conveyed President Abbas’ and the Palestinian leadership’s greetings to her. He expressed appreciation and praised her for standing strong and for what she has sacrificed throughout 30 years of waiting, coping and patience.”

He also “praised the Deheisheh refugee camp and its sons and daughters. He described it as a national revolutionary school which has produced generations and heroes who were and still are a source of pride.” Abbas’ representative furthermore stated: “The [prisoners’] chains will certainly be broken and removed by virtue of the heroes’ and mothers’ willpower” and “the best of the Palestinian people’s sons are in prison.”

Palestinian Media Watch also noted that according to Palestinian law, Abd Rabbo receives a monthly salary from the PA of 10,000 NIS, which is four times the average salary of civil servants within the Palestinian Authority and is even higher than the standard salary for people with humanities’ degrees within Israel. In fact, Abd Rabbo makes the same salary that Israeli engineers starting out their career make. In fact, two and a half percent of the PA’s annual budget goes towards prisoners’ salaries.

Mahmoud Abbas praising terrorists is not new. Since the Gilad Shalit exchange, Mahmoud Abbas has in fact repeatedly praised various Palestinian terrorists. For example, in a speech after a group of prisoners was released in 2011, Abbas referred to their time in prison as “enforced absence which was imposed on you because you are people of struggle and Jihad fighters for Allah and the homeland… Your sacrifice and your effort and your actions were not in vain. You acted and struggled and sacrificed.” In another speech, Abbas stated that the Palestinian terrorists in prison are “holy to us and we must exalt them.”

In yet another example of demonstrating his praise of hatred and violence, Abbas also proclaimed, “We must remember the pioneers, the Grand Mufti of Palestine Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini as well as Ahmad Al-Shukeiri, the founder of the PLO.” According to the Investigate Project on Terrorism, “Al-Husseini was a close ally of Adolf Hitler who instigated terror attacks against Jews and moderate Palestinians in pre-World War II Palestine. He also helped organize a Muslim SS division and was complicit in the Holocaust, preventing the rescue of 19,000 Jewish children.” According to Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “Saying such things is a form of incitement. We are seeing rhetoric in camps that were previously seen as moderate, and it is rhetoric heading in the wrong direction.”

By Rachel Avraham