Senator Jeff Sessions has not yet taken office as the new attorney general of the United States but he has already been presented with his first major challenge, thanks to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas threw down the gauntlet in his address at the seventh conference of Fatah, held in the PA capital of Ramallah the last week in November.
Fatah is the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas is the head of the PLO, Fatah, and the PA. Busy guy.
The State Department and the Jewish left are always telling us that Abbas is moderate and seeks peace. They say he has turned his back on his old terrorist ways and now rejects terrorism.
So shouldn’t he have used his address at the Fatah conference to stress those themes? Shouldn’t he have denounced the Palestinian terrorists who have slaughtered so many innocent Israelis, Americans, and others?
Yes, that’s what Abbas should have done. But instead, he did exactly the opposite. He went out of his way to single out, by name, some of the most notorious Palestinian terrorists of all time and to heap praise on them.
“They are all our heroes,” Abbas declared. “You will not forget them; they are immortal in our people’s memory, and the homeland of Palestine. Their sacrifices will not be in vain.”
He said they were “martyrs,” using the Islamic religious term for those who deserve to receive divine rewards for their deeds.
Then he proceeded to list their names.
I don’t know if Attorney General-designee Sessions was listening. But you can bet his staff will let him know what Abbas said. And Abbas surely knows that all his speeches are reviewed by U.S. government officials. Yet the individuals whom he singled out as “heroes” are all responsible for massacring American citizens:
* George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Abu Ali Mustafa, another PFLP leader. The PFLP, which is still on the U.S. list of terror groups, was responsible for attacks ranging from the 1972 slaughter of 11 American citizens from Puerto Rico in Israel’s Lod Airport to the 2004 Jerusalem synagogue massacre of five American rabbis.
The PFLP also carried out the 1976 murder (in Turkey) of Harold Rosenthal, a senior aide to U.S. Senator Jacob Javits (R-New York). It’s not hard to guess how Sessions, a Republican senator, feels about terrorists who murdered a senior staff member of a Republican senator.
* Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas. The many American victims of its suicide bombings have included Connecticut schoolteacher Joan Davenny (1995); a young soon-to-be-married couple, Matt Eisenfeld and Sara Duker (1996); New Jersey schoolteacher Judith Greenbaum (2001); and teenagers Yael Botwin (Los Angeles) and David Boim (New York).
* Fathi Shikaki, cofounder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which carried out the 1995 attack in which my daughter Alisa was murdered, as well as countless other attacks. The victims include Philadelphia attorney Rita Levine (1989), five members of the Reinitz, Taubenfeld, and Nathanson families of Monsey (2003), and Florida teenager Daniel Wultz (2006).
* Muhammad Zaidan (better known as Muhammad Abbas or Abu Abbas), founder of the Palestine Liberation Front terror group. Best known for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, in which an elderly, wheelchair-bound American, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered.
At least 141 U.S. citizens have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the 1960s. Yet the U.S. government has never asked the PA to extradite any of the terrorists for prosecution – even though many of the killers have been identified by name and some are even serving in the PA police or security forces.
Maybe that will change now that a new sheriff is coming to town. Maybe the new administration will acknowledge what the Obama administration refused to recognize: that bringing Palestinian killers of Americans to justice is an integral part of the international war on terror.
For the past eight years, various regimes around the world have become accustomed to insulting and humiliating the United States. Sometimes that has even included regimes that are recipients of U.S. aid, such as the PA, which receives $500 million each year.
For Mahmoud Abbas to go out of his way to publicly praise the murderers of Americans follows that pattern. It’s as if he’s daring the new attorney general to respond. One can only hope Senator Sessions is paying attention – and will take action.
Stephen M. Flatow