Australia/Israel Review


Scribblings: The “moderate” PA reacts to Hamas’ slaughter with cheerleading and antisemitism

Nov 1, 2023 | Tzvi Fleischer

A Fatah leader praises the Hamas massacre (Image: Palestinian Media Watch)
A Fatah leader praises the Hamas massacre (Image: Palestinian Media Watch)

In the wake of the horrific orgy of mass murder and hostage-taking by Hamas in southern Israeli on October 7, many people naively urged that a two-state resolution should be rapidly created to end the bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians. While they’re right in principle that a two-state resolution remains the only feasible way to end the conflict, they are completely misguided in thinking it can be achieved rapidly. 

Most advocates of a two-state solution as the answer to October 7 concede that Hamas – whose leader Ismail Haniyeh followed up this pogrom by saying on Al-Jazeera that all Jews have to “Get out of our land… This land is ours, Jerusalem is ours, everything is ours” – is probably not going to be a partner for that two-state peace. 

Sadly, the other possible partner for any potential two-state peace – the Palestinian Authority (PA) which controls the West Bank, ruled by President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party – has also effectively eliminated itself as a viable partner by its behaviour since October 7. (This comes on top of the fact that Abbas turned down at least two viable deals and has rejected all attempts to renew negotiations for almost a decade – and is increasingly losing control even of the West Bank.)

Here are just a few examples (all sourced from Palestinian Media Watch) of PA and Fatah reactions to the October 7 massacre:

  • Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, claimed to have participated in the attacks, predicting they would soon lead to Israel’s destruction, asserting on social media (Oct. 9), “We’re fighting with the rest of the resistance factions (i.e. terror groups) in ‘the Al-Aqsa Flood’ battle, by the power of Allah and with His help… the end of the thieving occupier’s imaginary entity is near.”
  • Fatah Tulkarem Branch Secretary Iyad Jarrad said on Oct. 10 on official PA TV, referring to the attacks on Israelis: “We stand alongside our brothers in the Gaza Strip, because truly they are a source of pride, heroism, and honour for the Palestinian people.”
  • On Oct. 12, the deputy Chair of Abbas’ Fatah Movement, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, praised the “blood of the heroes” – i.e. dead Hamas terrorist “Martyrs” – on X, vowing that this blood will be a curse “that will remove this occupier, all those who stand behind it, and all those who do not support our people.”
  • Al-Aloul also explained on the official PA news agency WAFA on Oct. 10 that “from the first moment everyone’s responses were united: This explosion (i.e. the Hamas terror war) is nothing but a natural response… and this is also the position of the Palestinian [PA] leadership.”
  • Some PA figures denied any Israeli civilians had been targeted or killed in the attacks. PA-TV political commentator Mahmoud Khalouf had this to say of the attacks and Israel’s military response: “It is forbidden under any circumstances to respond to a military operation – military squads against military squads – with a genocide of unarmed [Palestinian] civilians.”
  • Official PA-TV openly celebrated the terrorist attacks, describing them as a successful “military operation” and the Israelis kidnapped as “soldiers and settlers”. A reporter stated on Oct. 7, “Today Gaza landed a blow that this occupation will yet remember … This occupation will know well that the Palestinian people is in its land and needs to take its right to self-determination by force.”

There were also some blatantly antisemitic responses to the massacre from PA-affiliated sources:

  • The Telegram channel of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades on Oct. 7 called for the murder of all Israelis, and referred to Jews as “sons of apes and pigs” – a traditional Muslim slur against Jews based on a story from the Koran: “Allahu Akbar, come to Jihad, come to Jihad… today is your day. Break into the settlements, strike the sons of apes of pigs, kill everyone who is a settler, slaughter everyone who is Israeli.”
  • Even more frighteningly, on Oct. 18, the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs issued instructions to imams for the sermon they were to deliver in all the mosques of the West Bank on Friday Oct. 19 – and it included an instruction for all of them to preach to their congregations a religious saying calling for the genocide of all Jews. The sermon guidance instructions falsely blamed Israel for the explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital, claiming this was “one of the greatest crimes in the modern age.” The instructions then went on to quote an infamous Hadith (tradition attributed to the prophet Muhammad): “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, and the rock or a tree will say: ‘Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’” The same Hadith predicting that Muslims are fated to murder all Jews is quoted in the Hamas charter. 

As for PA Head Mahmoud Abbas, virtually his only attempt to distance himself from the attacks was a weak statement on Oct. 15 that “Hamas’ policy and actions do not represent the Palestinian people.” However, Fatah officials attempted to explain away the statement as a response to American pressure. Moreover, hours after the above statement was made, it was removed from the website of the official WAFA news agency and replaced with one that did not mention Hamas or its actions.

In other words, it is a sad and inconvenient fact that, since October 7, it is not just Hamas that has effectively ruled itself out as a partner for a two-state solution with Israel. By any reasonable standard, the PA has also shown it is too hateful, too murderous and too extreme for any such agreement to be reached, or to provide anything remotely like stable peace if it somehow were. 

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