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Then-US Vice President Joe Biden (L) meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on March 09, 2016.

As the Biden Administration continues to state its commitment to a “two-state negotiated solution” between the Palestinians and Israel, Palestinian leaders are pursuing their campaign to vilify Israel and demonize Jews. This campaign, which is manifest mostly in the rhetoric of the leaders and the Palestinian media, mosques and schools, has made it impossible – not to mention personally dangerous – for any Palestinian leader to seek a negotiated and peaceful settlement with Israel.

A Palestinian leader who repeatedly condemns a visit by Jews to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site in Jerusalem, as a “violent storming of the al-Aqsa Mosque” can never agree to be seen sitting at the same negotiating table with Jews. Once a Palestinian leader makes such a serious (and false) allegation against Jews, he is telling the Arabs and Muslims that the Jews are violating the sanctity of Islamic holy sites and should therefore be fought against, not welcomed as peace partners. If the Palestinians see this leader sitting with Jews, they will attack him for being associated with those who “defile” Islamic holy sites.


These leaders have radicalized their people against Israel — and Jews — to a point where it has become unsafe even to be seen in the presence of Israelis. If you tell your people (again, falsely) that the Israelis are perpetrating “war crimes,” “desecrating mosques” and “stealing land,” what will the Palestinians think of you when they see you sitting with an Israeli? They will denounce you as a “traitor” and call for your death.

A Palestinian leader who makes such a dangerous accusation cannot then afford to be seen in the company of any Jew, not even at a dinner meal.

Recently, a group of Palestinian clan leaders and businessmen, who were invited to an iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking meal) with Jews, received threats and were accused by many Palestinians of treason.

A Palestinian leader who refers to any Jew who visits a Jewish holy site as a “settler” and “colonizer” can never agree to be seen engaging in peace talks with such Jews.

Take, for example, the latest statements of Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who has long spewed vitriol against Israel and Jews.

On April 3, Shtayyeh again denounced Jews for daring to visit the Temple Mount. Referring to these Jews as “colonizers,” the Palestinian PM falsely accused them of violently storming the al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount. By describing the Jews as “colonizers,” Shtayyeh is seeking to send a message that the Jews have no religious or historical connection to their homeland, Israel.

In the eyes of Shtayyeh and many Palestinians, all Jews living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are “colonizers” and “settlers.” These Palestinians see no difference between a Jew living in a Jewish community in the West Bank and a Jew living in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. For them, all Jews are foreigners who have no connection whatsoever to Israel and Jewish holy sites and no right ever to live there. Period.

By calling all Jews “colonizers” and “settlers,” Palestinian leaders such as Shtayyeh are straightforwardly saying that they see Israel as one big illegal settlement that must be eradicated. Such remarks by Palestinian leaders also show that the Palestinians still have not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people, or as a place for anyone other than Muslims.

It is worth noting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has, on a number of occasions, made it clear that the Palestinians will not, under any circumstances, recognize Israel as a Jewish state. A Palestinian leader who says he will not accept Israel as a Jewish state is in fact stating that he wants to see Israel removed from the face of earth or replaced by another state with a Muslim or Arab majority where Jews might be permitted to live, under inferior conditions, as a “tolerated” minority.

The false allegation that Jews are conducting violent incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque is an old blood libel that aims to depict Jews as armed gangsters who have no respect for holy sites. It is this kind of libel that promotes antisemitism and endangers the lives of Jews around the world.

It is also important to point out that in the past few years, Jews have been conducting peaceful tours of the Temple Mount; the only violence and harassment comes from the Arabs who physically and verbally attack them. It is even more important to also note that, contrary to the false claim made by Shtayyeh and other Palestinian leaders, the Jews who visit the holy site have never set foot inside the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Yet, Palestinian leaders are not known to let facts stand in their way. They continue to spread falsehoods and libels about Israel and Jews with the clear knowledge that many people around the world believe everything they hear from the Palestinians. Those who remain silent or fail to confront the Palestinians about their lies and antisemitism are complicit in the poisonous propaganda campaign to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews.

One of those who have failed to call out the Palestinians for their antisemitism and lies is US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

During a visit earlier this year to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, Blinken stood next to PA President Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian leader again made false accusations and spread lies about Israel. The lies included charges that Israel was carrying out “ethnic cleansing, apartheid and other crimes” against the Palestinians. Abbas also condemned Israel for launching counterterrorism operations in the West Bank and demanded, in the presence of Blinken, that the US support his demand to provide the Palestinian people, including the terrorists who carry out attacks against Israel, with “international protection.”

Instead of calling out Abbas for his libels and lies against Israel, Blinken delivered a politically correct speech that equated between Palestinian terrorism and Israel’s counterterrorism measures. “Palestinians and Israelis alike are experiencing growing insecurity, growing fear in their homes, in their communities, in their places of worship,” Blinken argued.

If the Palestinians are “experiencing growing insecurity,” it is because they are enabling terrorists to operate freely against Israel within their own communities. If the Palestinians want to live in their homes in security and without fear, they could stop terrorists from planning and executing terror attacks against Israel. If the Palestinians want to feel safe in their places of worship, they could stop attacking and harassing Jews who visit Jewish holy sites such as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and Joseph’s Tomb in the Palestinian-controlled city of Nablus.

The Israeli army does not send its soldiers to Palestinian cities for fun. The only reason Israeli troops enter Palestinian cities and towns is to arrest terrorists or foil terror attacks that are being planned.

The Israeli security forces are actually forced to launch these counterterrorism operations because the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, are not fulfilling their obligations under the terms of their agreements with Israel to prevent and combat terrorism.

Instead, Abbas and the Palestinian leadership continue to glorify terrorists and to reward them and their families financially through the infamous “Pay-for-Slay” program. These are payments for killing Jews — like Murder, Inc.

In a place such as the West Bank that has lived off handouts from Europe, the US, Qatar and Iran, and where the Palestinian Authority never bothered to build any kind of industrial or self-sustaining economic base, paying people to murder Jews has, in a poor region, become a booming jobs program.

Every day, every Jew in Israel literally walks around with a bounty on his or her head. If you are a Jew in Israel, every day is “hunting season.”

Abbas has not only failed to disarm the various militias that have emerged in areas under his control. The exact opposite is true: he and other Palestinian officials have been industriously fanning the flames by praising the terrorists as “martyrs” and accusing Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings.”

In the world of Palestinian leaders, a terrorist is entitled to murder or wound Jews, but when the Jews manage to foil the attack or kill the terrorist, the Jews should be condemned for perpetrating “crimes” and “violating international law.”

What is more bizarre is that Blinken, who did not utter a word to refute the lies coming out of Abbas’s mouth, instead chose to praise the Palestinian leader: “I also appreciate, Mr. President, your consistent and resolute stance against terrorism.”

For the Biden Administration, a Palestinian leader who glorifies terrorists as “heroes and martyrs” and pays their families monthly salaries deserves praise for his “stance against terrorism.” If this US position was not so dangerous, it would be a sad joke.

If the Biden administration wants to understand why Palestinian leaders cannot resume any “peace process” with Israel, Blinken and the State Department would be advised to listen to the anti-Israel statements and lies of Abbas and Shtayyeh. These lies include charges that Israel is committing “war crimes,” “extra-judicial killings,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid.”

As long as Palestinian leaders continue to incite violence against Israel and Jews, these leaders will never return to any negotiating table with Israel.

Moreover, Palestinian leaders will never agree to a “negotiated two-state solution” with Israel as long as the message they are sending to the Palestinians says that Jews have no right to their own homeland. The belief that Palestinian leaders may soon resume the “peace process” with Israel indicates the self-deception and woozy wishful thinking of those Americans and Europeans who continue to put their faith in failed Palestinian leaders such as Abbas and Shtayyeh. Naïve Americans and gullible Europeans keep giving these leaders every incentive to continue their program of “Murder, Inc.” by rewarding them with “free” money for terrorism — with no strings attached. Under those terms, who wouldn’t continue killing Jews — or anyone? It is a gold mine.

Finally, these leaders might simply find it more comfortable to perpetuate the drama of the “cause” rather than the anonymous, less-than-heroic tedium of running a state. Unless, of course, that state could entail driving out the Jews.

{Reposted from Gatestone Institute}

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Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East. This article originally appeared on the Gatestone Institute website (