Little has helped Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas as much as the rise of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The whole Western world seems convinced that the PA under Abbas is kind of like Pakistan: A regime that, despite its difficulty in rooting out the terrorists in its midst, is essentially pro-Western, a moderate force, and a long-term partner in solving the region’s problems. Accordingly, Israel’s government recently transferred about $25 million in currency to Palestinian banks in Gaza, and today released 224 Palestinians who were either accused of, or serving time for, terror activity, as a gesture of good will.
The difference, of course, is this: While Pakistan has disavowed terror, rejected the Mumbai attack, and has promised to cooperate fully in the investigation into the attack, the Palestinian Authority is convinced that no Palestinians currently held actually deserve to be in jail. This includes some of the most vicious convicted terrorists in the world. At no point has Abbas ever admitted that these people were doing anything wrong. Today he announced that his “joy won’t be complete until Israel frees all Palestinian prisoners.”