Since succeeding terrorist Yasser Arafat early in 2005 as president of the Palestinian Authority (which is now dominated by the genocidal terror group Hamas), Mahmoud Abbas has been widely described by media pundits and political analysts as a man of “moderate” views who is committed to working for peace with the Israelis.
Thus it came as quite a shock to those pundits and analysts when Abbas, addressingÂ the Palestinian Youth Parliament, recently rejected, in no uncertain terms, the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. Specifically, he was commenting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuâ€™s assertion last week that it would be impossible to make diplomatic progress without Palestinian recognition of Israelâ€™s right to exist as a Jewish state. Said Abbas:
“The ‘Jewish state.’ What is a ‘Jewish state’? We call it, the ‘State of Israel’. You can call yourselves whatever you want. You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. And I say this on a live broadcast. It’s not my job to define it, to provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like. I don’t care.” (ClickÂ hereÂ to see a video of Abbas delivering this quote.)
These, of course, do not sound much like the views of a â€œmoderate.â€ And yet, such rhetoric is nothing new for Abbas. Immediately afterÂ Israel had withdrawn itsÂ military forces and civilian residents from Gaza in August 2005, for example, Abbas said: â€œWe must remember that our achievements are the result of the sacrifices of the martyrs…. This step will be followed by further withdrawals from the West Bank and Jerusalem.â€ In early 2007 AbbasÂ stated, â€œWe [Palestinians] should put our internal fighting aside and raise our rifles only against the Israeli occupation.â€ Around the same time period, he said,Â â€œWe must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of theÂ Intifada.â€ In December 2007 he said, â€œFrom a historical perspective, there are two states:Â IsraelÂ and Palestine. InÂ Israel, there are Jews and others living there. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else.â€