Palestinian officials such as Mahmoud Abbas have put on a convincing show of disgust over the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar. Today Abbas said that the attack was a “despicable act” that was “inhuman and immoral.” But are these genuinely felt statements and accurate representations of Palestinian rejection of terrorism, or are they cynical attempts at relieving temporary political and media pressure?
We know that Abbas and the PA are not credible — and that their supporters in various governments and in the Western media are giving them a free pass — because of how they treat terrorism when it is not on the front pages of newspapers. The Israeli government is trying to get that message across by releasing an “incitement index,” a compilation of recent official Palestinian celebrations of terrorism.
From the incitement index, we learn that only a few days ago, one of Mahmoud Abbas’s senior advisers called for the naming of a square in an Arab town in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, a leader of the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978, in which close to 40 Israeli civilians were burned alive in a hijacked bus; a few days before that, the PA’s official newspaper announced that a youth club in Ramallah would hold a soccer tournament in honor of Wafa Idris, a Fatah suicide bomber who used a Palestinian ambulance to enter Israel; and a few days before that, official PA television again celebrated Dalal Mughrabi as part of a “Women as Exemplars” program (over the summer, a number of children’s summer camps were also named after her); and a few days before that, the governor of Jenin awarded $2,000 to the family of a Fatah suicide bomber.
That is all merely in the past two months. The list goes on at nauseating length, documenting the incontrovertible fact that the Palestinian Authority is very much still in the terrorism game — and, it must be added, all while funded by the United States and European governments. The incitement index raises troubling questions: Isn’t it time for Congress to hold hearings on the use of U.S. funds by the Palestinian Authority to promote terrorism?
It is also long past time that U.S. officials asked an even more important question of their Palestinian counterparts: Why do you denounce terrorism that happened a few days ago, but celebrate terrorism that happened a few years ago? Does the passage of time transform murder from a “despicable act,” as Abbas said today, into a cause for celebration? It is clear once again that Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are simply playing their old game — criticizing terrorism in English while glorifying it in Arabic. Israel cannot make peace with people who do that.