Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, responded on Thursday evening to harsh and false attacks voiced earlier against Israel by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.
Abbas urged the world to take action against “Israeli atrocities” and repeating debunked rumors that Israeli rabbis had “called to poison Palestinian water supplies.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the speech, saying that Abbas had “showed his true face” in Brussels. “Someone who refuses to meet the president and myself for direct negotiations and who spreads blood libels before the European Parliament, is lying when he claims that his hand is extended in peace,” said Netanyahu.
The prime minister was referring to the potential meeting between Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Rivlin proposed by EU Council President Donald Tusk that Abbas bluntly refused to attend.
“Israel is waiting for the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and engaging in incitement,” Netanyahu added, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Until then Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement that motivates acts of terrorism.”
Abbas harshly attacked Israel during his speech, calling its policies towards Arabs from the Palestinian Authority “racist” and “fascist.” He also said the PA is prepared to make peace with Israel — even as he rejected a single meeting with Rivlin while the two were in the same building at the same time, for the very same purpose.
“Our hands are extended with a desire to peace,” he claimed, directing his remarks to Israel. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask, do you have the same will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice that your state has exacted on our country?”
President Rivlin also responded to Abbas’ speech on Thursday, expressing disappointment that Abbas has refused to meet with him.
“It is strange that Abbas repeatedly refuses to meet with Israeli leaders and then repeatedly turns to the international community for support,” said Rivlin in a statement. “We cannot build on the trust we have built if we do not start talking directly without intermediaries. Direct talks are the only way to build confidence and restore the conditions for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”
Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet domestic intelligence chief Avi Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee also responded to what he called the “falsehoods” propounded by Abbas during his Brussels speech.
“With a series of historical distortions and crocodile tears, Abu Mazen today described the 1948 Palestinian ‘Nakba‘ [Arabic for ‘disaster’], without mentioning the fact that the Arab leaders in 1947 were the ones who determined their fate,” said Dichter.
“The Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, while the ‘Abu Mazens’ of that time rejected the United Nations proposal and the Arab armies invaded Israel in order to wipe out the Jews and take 100 percent of Israel.”
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the speech as well, referring to Abbas’ claim that Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, recently called Israel was a “fascist” state. While Barak did make a similar accusation, Ya’alon did not.
“Abu Mazen is not only lying as usual, continuing his malicious blood libels against the State of Israel,” wrote Ya’alon on his Facebook page, “he is also exploiting the healthy democratic discourse in Israeli society, which does not exist in his society and is putting words in my mouth I did not say.
“Abu Mazen’s conduct, speeches and evasions of direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions are further proof that he never intended to go for an agreement, including recognition of our right to exist as the only nation state of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon added.TPS / Tazpit News Agency
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is big on talking all about his desire for peace and a final status agreement with Israel. But acting on those words is quite another story.
Abbas bluntly rejected a proposal by the European Union that he meet with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in Brussels. The two men were in the European Union’s main governmental headquarters for meetings with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and to address the EU Parliament about the peace process.
Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Parliament tried to broker the meeting between Abbas and Rivlin, but the Palestinian Authority leader refused.
At a joint news conference with Mogherini, Rivlin expressed disappointment in the rejection.
“On a personal level, I find it strange that my friend Abu Mazen refuses again and again to meet with Israeli leaders… Instead, he turns again and again to the support of the internal community,” he said. “We can talk directly,” he pointed out. “We can find a way to build confidence.”
Israel has repeatedly emphasized the importance of direct talks and after decades of failed multilateral talks has rejected that option as a way to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.Hana Levi Julian
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas hauled out the tattered old myth about Jews poisoning the wells on Thursday and tried to feed it to his audience at the European Union Parliament.
Adapting the medieval anti-Semitic water blood libel for local use, the claim originated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which said a prominent rabbi had issued a religious decree “allowing Israeli settlers in the West Bank to poison Palestinian water sources in Palestinian towns.”
Abbas went further, saying in his speech to European lawmakers that it was a special Israeli rabbinical council in Judea and Samaria who had issued the decree.
The lie had already been immediately picked up and passed along by many international media, among them The Independent according to the Israellycool website, which caught the British website’s screaming headline over the horrifying Ramadan holiday disaster.
And now here was the leader that the international community is down Israel’s throat as a “peace partner” spewing out that latest version of a medieval blood libel. Jews were falsely accused in the 14th century of causing disease by poisoning the water across Europe as a plague swept the continent; the blood of countless numbers of Jews ran through the streets as their communities were massacred in response.
It’s not so different from the libelous Al Aqsa Mosque “destruction” lies with which the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza’s Hamas terrorist group incessantly attempt to ignite violence against Israel among the Arab population.
And since in “honor” of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan Israel has opened its borders to allow Muslims to pray in Jerusalem at Al Aqsa with far fewer restrictions, Abbas instead was forced to seek a new libel.
“Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians,” Abbas claimed from the EU Parliament podium. “Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?” He gave no source for the claim. Yet Haaretz reports that Abbas received a standing ovation from the EU lawmakers after his speech.
Quotes from an alleged “Rabbi Mlmad” on the website of the Palestinian Authority foreign ministry supposedly calling for Jews to poison wells, and citing a ‘Council of Rabbis in the West Bank’ were similarly found by international news outlets such as Reuters and others to be impossible to trace.
Haaretz quoted Gulf News as saying the allegation was sourced from the far-left Breaking the Silence organization, a group comprised of former IDF soldiers who criticize Israel and its relations with the PA. But Breaking the Silence denied issuing this one, Reuters reported. And yet Abbas was able to cobble together fiction with fact — a dangerous combination and one that is powerful when presented in the international arena.
“Senior Israel’s such as [opposition leader Isaac] Herzog, the opposition chairman, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the current deputy chief of staff and senior journalists to speak about growing signs of fascism in Israeli society,” he told the European lawmakers.
Abbas neglected to mention that Isaac Herzog is under police investigation, Ehud Barak is no longer in politics because he’s exhausted his credibility across the spectrum and the remarks by the current IDF deputy chief of staff were made within context of a political framework not relevant to general Israeli society.
As with the updated European blood-to-water libel, Abbas cited sources and myths as if they were facts, and fed the fantasies to the European Union Parliament — and his European audience loved it.Hana Levi Julian
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to meet in Rome with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry early next week, reportedly to discuss the possibility of resurrecting the moribund ‘final status talks’ with the Palestinian Authority.
International pressure on Israel to resume negotiations with the Ramallah government has been growing since French President Francois Hollande launched his ‘Paris initiative’ earlier this year. Under that plan, France would host the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority for talks later this year.
Negotiations which had been limping for years collapsed in April 2014, at around the same time Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to seek a unity government with the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.Hana Levi Julian
Ma’alot Mayor Shlomo Abuhbut visited Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday (May 31, 2016) in his office at the Muqata compound in the PA capital city of Ramallah. Abuhbut also paid ceremonial respects at the tomb of PLO terrorist chief Yasser Arafat — enraging his constituents at home — and visited with Abbas at home as well.
Residents of Ma’alot say their mayor, a member of the Labor Party, seems to have forgotten the May 15, 1974 attack on a school in their city in which more than 85 high school students were taken hostage while on a trip there from Tzfat. The standoff with the three terrorists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terror cell ended with the deaths of 22 children and five adults, in addition to 70 wounded Israelis.
The PFLP is the second largest faction within the PLO terror organization, after Fatah.
But in response to the residents’ outrage, Abuhbut posted a long, detailed statement Thursday morning on his Facebook page.
“Last night I went on a visit to Abu Mazen and his associates with the heads of local authorities in the Galilee from both ends of the political spectrum,” he wrote. “Abu Mazen (the nom de guerre of Abbas) has been negotiating with Israeli governments for many years, including that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others.
“I too believe there is a path to achieving two states for two nations, and that it is through this means we can negotiate a way to guarantee the security of Israel as a nation, and ensure a unique, Jewish majority.
“This is not the first time I have participated in such a venture. I have gone with delegations to visit the Palestinian Authority together with heads of state, mayors of cities and local authorities and local heads of the Likud party, and even heads of the councils of Judea and Samaria.
My son currently serves as an IDF soldier in the Golani Brigade; another is a warrior in the reserves. I reared them as combat soldiers to contribute meaningful service, to guarantee the security of Israel as a nation and to ensure a distinct Jewish majority here.
I grew up in Morocco; it was there I absorbed the values of a life in which Arabs and Jews can co-exist in peace. I believe it is actually those of us who are from North Africa, who have skills and a background like no one else, who can to bring to the table to resolve the conflict with the Arab nations, knowing it can be a way for us to continue as a Jewish State respecting the rights of minorities as neighbors.
“That is precisely why I won’t abandon an opportunity for interaction that has a hint of a chance of creating peace. I will continue my efforts to that end, to extend a hand in peace, to make it clear that Israel has a right to exist in security and peace.
“During our visit I emphasized to Abu Mazen that I see in Minister [Avigdor] Liberman a [new] chance to start negotiations because Liberman had always proposed a plan in which there would be a political arrangement with the Palestinian Authority as part of a greater arrangement with the Arab nations.
“Abu Mazen – who spoke in Arabic and who with other officials appears in Arab media – specifically said that he recognizes the existence of the State of Israel and does not denigrate the words of Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and Minister Libberman. He also said that he sees in Liberman a legitimate negotiating partner who can promote dialogue.”Hana Levi Julian
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has demanded justice for the Hebron terrorist who was killed by an IDF soldier last week. The terrorist was shot and wounded after he and his partner stabbed an IDF soldier. A few minutes later, another soldier shot and killed the wounded terrorist.
At a press conference on Monday evening, Abbas said that a red line was crossed – referring to the killing of the wounded terrorist.
Abbas demanded there be a court case to ascertain the truth and the soldier gets what’s coming to him – and he didn’t mean a medal.
יו"ר הרשות הפלסטינית, אבו מאזן, ענה במסיבת עיתונאים לשאלת כתב חדשות 10 והגיב לסערת הירי בחברון >> http://bit.ly/1RBtoXMPosted by חדשות 10 on Monday, March 28, 2016
In a small sparsely-furnished office, containing a cherry wood desk, a matching credenza, an Israeli flag, some small personal photos and a large framed print of the father of Zionism, Vladimir Jabotinsky, is seated a man larger than life, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu and former Foreign Minister of Israel: Avigdor Liberman.
When the JewishPress.com met with Liberman late one morning this past week, he was told that most non-Israeli Jews really don’t have a good sense of who he is. So he was asked to explain himself.
ALIYAH, JEWISH CONTINUITY, ABSORPTION
Liberman began this way:
“First of all, my highest priorities are Aliyah, Jewish Continuity and Absorption. My positions are clear right wing without compromise, but very pragmatic.”
One of his pet projects combines all three priorities: he envisions schools of Jewish education everywhere in the Diaspora, along the lines of American schools abroad. Those schools would focus on both Judaism and Zionism.
Liberman explained the need for this educational initiative: “At the Saban meeting, people like [American Jewish journallist] Jeffrey Goldberg talked about the problem of the younger Jewish generation not being so supportive of Israel.”
“He said that the decline in support was due to Israeli government policies. But that’s not the problem,” Liberman said.
The problem is that the “younger generations of Jews don’t really know much about and so don’t care much about Israel.”
This dovetails with Liberman’s preoccupation with Jewish assimilation. He cites statistics and surveys which predict the near total extinction of Jews in only a few more generations.
“Fewer than 10 percent of American Jews have a Jewish, Zionist education. In places like France, Russia, even Canada, there is a 70 percent assimilation rate,” Liberman explains, with horror.
Naturally, the first question is who would fund such a project? Knowing that even many American Jewish Federations have turned away from significant contributions to Jewish day schools, the prospect seems bleak.
But Liberman isn’t looking to the Diaspora as the primary funding source. He explains: “during the 1940’s and ’50’s, Israel was a small, poor country and needed tremendous financial and political support – which it received – from the Jewish Diaspora.
“Now, with Israel’s vibrant economy, it’s our turn to give back and our turn to help support the Jewish people. We are a strong country with a huge budget,” explains Liberman.
Liberman believes that Israel must contribute something on the order of $365 million – which should be met with matching funds – to this vitally important enterprise.
The suavely-dressed, slimmed-down, blue-eyed politician sees this contribution by Israel not just as providing moral support to the waning Diaspora Jewry, but as a crucial investment, “it is for our future as well.”
The idea was first pitched by Liberman nearly a year ago in a speech in the United States. The concept was immediately overshadowed by the subsequent Israeli elections and, increasingly, by the nation’s focus on the then-looming and seemingly catastrophic Nuclear Iran Deal which the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia), plus Germany (the P5+1) was negotiating, and then concluded, with Iran.
Liberman believes his concept is critical if there is to remain a global Jewry outside of Israel. Not surprisingly, one of the reasons Diaspora Jewry with a strong Jewish and Zionist identity matters so much is as a steady source for Aliyah.
But the current governing coalition “does not care about the Diaspora,” Liberman said.
This discussion led naturally to the question of why Yisrael Beiteinu walked away from being in the ruling coalition. It’s of course harder to promote enormous new projects from the outside.Lori Lowenthal Marcus