Israeli leaders criticized Abbas for his vitriolic speech calling Israel a “colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism,” while Netanyahu claimed Abbas is actually helping Israel’s diplomatic effort.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
Israel’s leadership took Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to task on Monday over his hate-filled speech in which he denied Israel’s right to exist and wished that US President Donald Trump’s “house should be destroyed.”
Abbas on Sunday rejected Israel as a Western “colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.”
“Colonialism created Israel to perform a certain function. It is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism, but rather used the Jews as a tool under the slogan of the Promised Land,” said Abbas.
Providing a warped version of history, he also suggested that European Jewry chose to remain in their home countries during the Holocaust rather than emigrating.
“The Jews did not want to emigrate even with murder and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust, they did not emigrate. By 1948, Jews in Palestine were no more than 640,000, most of them from Europe,” he said.
Netanyahu: Abbas has torn off his mask
In a statement from India, where he is currently visiting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he ”heard what Abu Mazen [Abbas] said. He has revealed the truth. He has torn off the mask and shown to the public the simple truth that I have been working to instill for many long years: The root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their steadfast refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders whatsoever.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned Abbas for the remarks, which provided justification for dubbing him a Holocaust denier.
“What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible,” Rivlin charged.
“To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that that the Jewish people has no connection with the Land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial,” he declared.
Abbas’ attitude is “precisely what blocks us. In his words he is rejecting our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen [Abbas] knows very well that the Quran itself recognizes the Land of Israel as our land.
“Without this basic recognition we will not be able to build trust and move forward” in any kind of peace plan, Rivlin said.
PA leader ‘lost his senses’
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Abbas has “lost his senses.”
Liberman told IDF Radio that Abbas’ address symbolizes his rejection of peace negotiations and his preference instead for a confrontation with both Israel and the US.
Indeed, Abbas also lashed out at Trump over recent policy moves, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Referring to the US president, Abbas uttered the Arabic phrase yekhreb beitak, literally translated as “may your house be demolished.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the speech’s content represented Abbas’ swan song.
“Abu Mazen is at the end of his road, toward the end of his rule and the end of his life,” he told IDF Radio of the 83-year-old ailing Palestinian leader. “There appears to be no Palestinian partner and it is unlikely there will be.”
Danon demands condemnation from UN chief
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon wrote to Secretary General António Guterres demanding a condemnation of Abbas’ speech.
“It is unfortunate that, with his latest statements, Abbas has yet again responded negatively to serious initiatives for dialogue by Israel, the United States and other members of the international community,” Danon stated.
“The hateful words of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, which seem to question the very right of a United Nations member-state to exist, are completely unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned,” he added.
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