This week marks the fifth anniversary of January 9, 2009, the date on which the term of office of Mahmoud Abbas, frequently touted as the democratically-elected president of the Palestinian National Authority and of the self-proclaimed State of Palestine, actually came to an end.
January 9, 2009 also happens to be the date on which Mahmoud Abbas unilaterally extended his presidential term. He has continued to extend it ever since. (Alert readers might wonder why they don't read this sort of thing on the front page of the New York Times or the website of BBC World Service. We sort of have no idea.)
In honour of the anniversary, we want to take this opportunity to remind readers of how Abbas and the group of Palestinian Arab insiders who have made out like thieves (just an expression) while controlling the perpetually-crippled PA economy, view the actions of the people we mentioned in several blog posts of the past fortnight.
Which posts and which people? We mean the people mentioned here, all of them from the two weeks just ended:
- 12-Jan-14: Sabbath afternoon knifing attack in Jerusalem
- 11-Jan-14: Saturday night rocket fire on southern Israel
- 6-Jan-14: Gaza rocket fired this morning into southern Israel
- 5-Jan-13: The terror not reported remains the real news
- 3-Jan-14: Behind the bombing of an Israeli city bus
- 3-Jan-14: Thursday rocket attack from Gaza again but the living in southern Israel's Gaza-fringe communities remains good
- 31-Dec-13: Reality-checking: are we closer to peace this morning or further away?
- 30-Dec-13: Rocket fired into Israel from Gaza
- 29-Dec-13: Israel's north faces fresh round of terrorist rocket attacks
- 29-Dec-13: When Mahmoud Abbas raises their hands and cheers their heroic deeds, read this and shudder
They are "heroic brothers" whose return to the Palestinian Arab towns and villages is reason enough to "congratulate ourselves" for the "great celebration that unifies" the Palestinian Arabs. Their actions reflect the determination of the people at whose head he stands "not to lose their humanity, their highest, deeply-held moral values". Though a self-declared "man of peace", he holds that "if the Arabs want war – we are with them" but his side "cannot fight alone". "We tried military action during the Second Intifada". "Popular operations resisting settlement and the [security] fence (i.e. acts of terror directed at unarmed Israeli civilians) lead to clear positive results for the Palestinian cause". The people who murder and maim children, women, elderly survivors of the Holocaust, their own work-mates and employers - these "are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do".Happy anniversary, Mr Abbas. If nothing else, the notable milestones of your career have caused thoughtful people (including us) to pay close attention to speeches of yours that would otherwise probably have been immediately consigned to the garbage.
It is rare to find a politician as unafraid as you of owning up to the unvarnished, though little reported truth: that you believe sincerely and deeply in terror: in its utility, in its effectiveness, in its redeeming power.
Perhaps one day we, together with some of the thousands of others who have suffered unspeakable loss and pain at your blood-drenched hands, might meet in a suitable place - perhaps an international court-room or, better yet, a prison where we can spend time with you reviewing what the words "hero" and "deeply-held moral values" mean in your lexicon.