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To put an end to the anti-Semitic rantings of Mahmoud Abbas

8 September 2023 Expertises   171480  

atmane tazaghart

If it is true that old age is a shipwreck, in the case of the Palestinian raïs Mahmoud Abbas (84 years old), it is more like a long and lamentable drowning that drags in its wake Palestine and its just cause. Physically worn out, isolated and politically challenged, Abbas has been multiplying blunders and aberrations for many years. Ultimate slippage, speaking on August 24 before the “revolutionary council” of his party, Fatah, he uttered extremely serious anti-Semitic remarks: “Hitler did not kill the Jews because Jews […] but only because of their social status as usurers,” he asserted.
The Palestinian raïs took up here a hazy theory that he had already developed during a “History lesson” delivered before the Palestinian National Council, in Ramallah, on April 30, 2018, according to which “the reason for the Holocaust is not the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, but the “social behavior” of the Jews”! But in his lucubrations of last August 24, he enriched this infamous theory with a new argument tinged with conspiracy: in a delirious attempt to prove that the ‘‘Nazis were not anti-Semites’’, he advanced the strange argument according to which ‘‘Ashkenazi Jews are not Semites”, because “they are the descendants of the Khazars [ancient Turkish people] who have nothing to do with Semitism”. Which, of course, has no historical basis!

Worse still, a year ago, while visiting Germany, on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the Munich Attack (an attack perpetrated by the Palestinian group Black September during the 1972 Olympic Games, which cost the lives of 12 people, including 11 Israeli athletes taken hostage and then executed by the Palestinian commando), Abbas was questioned at a press conference as to whether he “regretted” this carnage, which at the time had shocked the whole world. Nothing obliged the old raïs to make his mea culpa. He could have evaded the question, as politicians know so well how to do. But, no! He chose to overdo it, launching into strange elucidations, which he concluded with a formula that chilled everyone: “The massacres perpetrated by the Israelis against the Palestinian people are equivalent to 50 Holocausts”!

By indulging in such a sacrilege precisely from the German capital, Abbas provoked the “disgust” of Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and raised a worldwide media outcry, which found – and this is unprecedented – a resounding echo in the Arab and Palestinian press.

Thus, for the prominent Palestinian columnist, Ma’n al-Bayari, the issue raised by this “catastrophic response” should not be about the Holocaust, but about Abbas’ political ineptitude: “That the Palestinian president considers that the war crimes committed by Israel over the past 80 years can only appear sufficiently awful if they are considered 50 times more heinous than the Nazi holocaust inflicted on the Jews, is further proof that this guy is unfit to be the leader of a people who are campaigning against the horrors of the occupation. And that his behaviour, under the gaze of the whole world and the international media, is detrimental to the moral standing that the Palestinian people and their struggle deserve among the peoples who aspire to freedom”. He concluded: “This is a terrifying misery that must be publicly denounced by stating, loudly and clearly, that the Palestinian president is not only illegitimate [his mandate expired in 2009], but also unfit for this position because he plays a harmful role.

The most terrifying thing about this “misery” is that Mahmoud Abbad’s antisemitic outbursts are not only due to the wreckage of old age. Already at the age of 44, in a doctoral thesis defended at the Institute of Orientalist Studies in Moscow (1982), he considered that the number “advanced by historians” of 6 million Jewish victims of the Shoah was “exaggerated”! One also remembers a smoky theory he developed during a “history lesson” delivered to the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah on 30 April 2018, according to which “the reason for the Holocaust is not the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, but the ‘social behaviour’ of the Jews”!

Strange as it may seem, despite all these horrors, Mahmoud Abbas has managed to forge a reputation as a “moderate”, simply because he chaired the Palestinian delegations during the peace negotiations at the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the Oslo Accords in 1993. However, he was not chosen for such a mission because of his charisma (non-existent) or his political line (impossible to define), but for a simple bureaucratic reason: he was, at the time, the PLO’s delegate for international relations!

Abbas’ alleged “moderation” – which led the Israeli authorities to favour his rise, to the detriment of Arafat’s most legitimate heir within Fatah, Marwan Barghouti – was only an illusion. The proof is that, as soon as he came to power, he established a repressive and totalitarian system, which has nothing to envy to its counterparts among Arab despots and compared to which the authoritarian and angry Arafat would pass for a Palestinian Gandhi!

At the head of the Palestinian National Authority since 15 January 2005, Abbas clings to power, despite the fact that his mandate expired almost 14 years ago! On 9 January 2009, in the absence of new presidential elections, he was supposed to hand over his mandate to the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), which ensures – according to the Palestinian constitution never respected by Abbas nor by his predecessor Yasser Arafat – the presidential interim until the election of a new raïs. However, the PLC has not met since 5 July 2007, due to the secession of Hamas which, having taken power in Gaza, no longer recognises the Ramallah Authority.

However, Abbas extends his mandate ad vitam æternam, by appointing himself “President of the State of Palestine” with the approval of the PLO Central Council controlled by his party, Fatah. Contested in the Palestinian Territories, due to the widespread corruption of his administration and the multiplication of human rights violations; isolated and discredited on the international and Arab scene, due to his political blunders and statements (against the Arab League, the UN, the United States, China …), Abbas forms, since 2009, with the irremovable Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, an “evil duo”. Together, despite the apparent diversity, they have been the gravediggers of the peace process initiated by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993.

As a last attempt to restore the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, the High Constitutional Court of Palestine (HCCP) issued a courageous order in December 2018: noting that the PLC, the legislative power of the Authority, has been blocked since July 2007 and as its mandate expired on 25 January 2010, it ordered the organisation of general elections (legislative and presidential) within a maximum period of 6 months.

The old raïs pretended to comply. But as soon as a first poll, conducted by his own mukhabarate, indicated that the list led by Mohammed Dahlan, Arafat’s former Minister of Security, who has taken refuge in Abu Dhabi, could win, Abbas decided – as a seasoned despot – to cancel the elections outright!

Last November, an Algerian mediation managed, with “millions of petro-dinars”, to reconcile – theoretically – Fatah and Hamas. According to the “Algiers Agreements”, Palestinian general elections should be organised before the end of October 2023. No doubt, however, that the old Abbas will find a new ruse to cancel the elections and stay in power.