Op-ed: Mahmoud Abbas’ scathing speech was mostly a gift to the Israeli rightists who wants one big state; the Palestinian president is making it clear that he’s not a partner, that he refuses to recognize the Jews’ right to self-determination and that he is trapped in hallucinations, illusions and lies.
He’s the most moderate leader the Palestinians could choose, and that’s their tragedy.
On Sunday, the famous moderate said he wouldn’t repeat 1948 and 1967, because those mistakes led to the Palestinian tragedy, the Nakba. But he is repeating the exact same mistakes. More hallucinations. More illusions. More rejectionism.
In Israel, there is dispute over whether the source of the problem is 1948 or 1967. Abbas has made it clear that the problem is 1917. In other words, the Balfour Declaration, which supported the Jews’ right to a national home.
There is an argument over the existence of a line separating between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Abbas made it clear that there is no such line. Both ideologies are based on lies.
It’s slightly embarrassing to refute the nonsense uttered by the moderate leader from the Muqata’a, but there appears to be no escape, because every lie that is repeated 1,000 times in the first act reaches textbooks and campuses in the third act. The legitimization based on the claim that it’s a “Palestinian narrative.”
There were many lies in Sunday’s speech, but at least three of them should be refuted.
First of all, according to Abbas, the Balfour Declaration is a colonialist project. Quite the opposite. The Balfour Declaration was issued as part of a growing recognition of the right to self-determination, which was the result of an anti-imperialist battle that led to the empires’ dissolution and to the establishment of nation states. The Jews, who lived under many empires, received the right to self-determination along with other people.
So Zionism is an anti-imperialist liberation movement. Zionist didn’t aim to banish anyone, and the Nakba itself is the result of Arab rejectionism. And anyway, tens of millions of people experienced uprooting and expulsion and population exchanges as part of the establishment of nation states, including Arabs and Jews.
Second, Abbas created the impression that the peace plan he had been offered by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included 40 years of Israeli presence in the Jordan River, which is why he had turned it down.
Well, in an interview to Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post, Abbas made it clear, in real time, that he had turned down the plan because it failed to provide a wide-scale right of return. That was also his immediate reaction to former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who presented him with the principles of the plan hours after hearing about it from Olmert. On Sunday, however, we received a new version which is completely untrue.
Third, according to Abbas, “the Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which had the world’s largest fleet, to move the Jews.”
Abbas is outdoing himself. Holland? When exactly did Holland move masses of Jews? Why it was conquered by the Nazis. And the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Abbas’ hero, cooperated with Europe’s leaders at the time—the Nazis—to expand the annihilation of Jews to the Arab world and Palestine. So what the hell is he babbling about?
Abbas’ speech is mostly a gift to the part of the Israeli Right that wants one big state. The moderate leader is making it clear that there’s nothing to talk about. He refuses to recognize the Jews’ right to self-determination. He is not a partner. He is trapped in hallucinations, illusions and lies.
It’s possible that this isn’t really a hallucination but actually a plot. After all, he wants to lead us towards one big state. That’s exactly what Israel’s haters want. That’s what the Hamas, BDS and Iran coalition wants. So we mustn’t downplay the nonsense voiced by Abbas. Because if we’re not careful, this delusional speech may turn into another milestone ahead of that goal’s fulfillment.