Attack marked Palestinian chief’s first public remarks since meeting Benny Gantz in Israel.
By Pesach Benson, United With Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attacked Israel in a televised address accusing the Jewish state of “hideous policies of ethnic cleansing and organized terrorism” against the Palestinian people on Friday.
The speech marked the 57th anniversary of the Fatah party, which Abbas heads. The address was also the Palestinian leader’s first public remarks since meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha’Ayin. Abbas’s speech did not refer to that meeting.
“The anniversary of the launch of our revolution comes in extremely critical and difficult circumstances due to the continuation of the abhorrent Israeli occupation, the escalation of its repressive practices and persecution against our people, the theft of our land and natural resources, the stifling of our economy, the withholding of our tax funds and racial discrimination,” Abbas said.
Abbas lauded the “heroes of the popular resistance,” a reference to Palestinians carrying out recent shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israel. He also praised the “sacrfices and patience” of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Referring to the pay-for-slay stipends paid by the PA to imprisoned terrorists and the families of “martyrs,” Abbas vowed, “We will not abandon you. Your struggle is an honor that testifies to your sacrifices in defense of your homeland and people.”
Until the meeting with Gantz, Abbas hadn’t visited Israel for talks since 2010, when he met with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem. Abbas also attended the Jerusalem funeral of Shimon Peres in 2016. Although he greeted Netanyahu, the two held no discussions.
According to various reports citing the Defense Ministry, Gantz offered Abbas economic benefits regarding import taxes and excise duties, entry permits for more than 1,000 Palestinian businessmen, additional VIP permits for senior PA officials, an NIS 100 million ($32.2 million) loan to the PA, and the legalization of 9,500 undocumented foreigners currently living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The Defense Ministry said Gantz and Abbas also discussed construction plans for Palestinian homes.
The secular, socialist Fatah organization was founded in 1959 by Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat. By 1969, it took over the Palestine Liberation Organization — an umbrella organization of terror groups and other factions. Abbas is simultaneously the chief of Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
During the Second Intifada, dozens of suicide bombings and shootings were carried out by Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. One of the Brigades’ senior commanders, Marwan Barghouti, is serving five cumulative life sentences in Israel.
Fatah’s popularity has largely evaporated over issues of corruption and mismanagement. Fatah has been in a power struggle with Hamas ever since the Islamist terror group violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Because of Fatah-Hamas feuding, Palestinians have not held national elections since 2006.
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