Mahmoud Abbas an angel of peace? Really? Could Pope Francis really have called him that.
I respect the Pope. Gosh, everyone respects the Pope. But I’m not Catholic and I’m not bound by any doctrine of papal infallibility.
So let’s look at the record of this “angel of peace.”
Abbas’s career as a merchant of death rather than an angel of peace stretches all the way back to the early 1970s. According to Abu Daoud, the Mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre that left 11 Israeli athletes murdered, Abbas funded the operation. And when Abu Daoud died in 2010, Abbas wrote a letter of condolence to the infamous terrorist’s family saying “He is missed. He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes.”
He also spent his life murdering Jews.
Over the past ten years Abbas has established a violent and brutal dictatorship in the West Bank. More than a year ago, when Israel, under American pressure, released a gang of terrorists as a precondition for negotiations with the Palestinians, Abbas welcomed the cold-blooded killers home as heroes and called them so explicitly.
Standing before a celebrating welcome-crowd and smiling ear-to-ear, Abbas held up the hand of Issa Abd Rabbo, a man who at the age of 19 tied up and shot two Hebrew University students whose only crime was to go on a hike. And who can forget when, just over a decade ago, during the wave of PA sponsored terror of the Second Intifada, Mahmoud Abbas — then Prime Minister — waited nearly five years before so much as condemning the violence. He only did so in December of 2004, once 700 hundred Israeli civilians had already been blown up on buses, pizza stores, and night clubs.
Mahmoud Abbas, the angel of peace, has had a busy decade, as angels often do. His term as President was supposed to end six years ago. The Pope made no mention of how Abbas abolished Palestinian elections and now rules by dictatorial fiat. The angel of peace has now completely dismantled whatever democratic processes once existed in the PA.
In line with other dictators, this particular angel of peace has scrapped any semblance of freedom of speech from the PA. Journalists who attempt to call him out on his despotic ways are quickly imprisoned. They are officially arrested under the not-very-peaceful pretext of “extending their tongue.”
Though an angel of peace he may be, Abbas is thoroughly corrupt. His predecessor, Yasser Arafat, the godfather of international terrorism, was accused of embezzling billions of dollars of money meant for the Palestinian people, with U.S. officials estimating the man’s personal nest egg between one and three billion dollars. In line with his role model, after whom he named his own son, Abbas has continued this tradition of grand embezzlement.
At a hearing for the House Subcommittee on the Middle East entitled Chronic Kleptocracy: Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment, committee Chairman Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) claimed that Mahmoud Abbas has used his position “to line his own pockets as well as those of his cohort of cronies, including his sons, Yasser and Tareq… allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in USAID contracts.”
According to Muhammad Rashid, Arafat’s economic and financial advisor and head of the Palestinian Investment Fund, Abbas has a net worth of more than $100 million. That’s beside the wealth of his sons, who’ve amassed their personal fortunes through such things as monopolies on imported cigarettes and public works projects.
Another PA official, former Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan, has claimed that $1.3 billion has vanished from the Palestinian Investment Fund since it was turned over to Abbas’ control in 2005. It seems that the angel of peace is also a magician.
The world’s largest recipient of international aid, the Palestinian Authority has received about $8,462,161,328 between 2007 and 2014. At more than $3,000 per capita, and about $428 per capita per year, that’s nearly four times the aid given to Europeans by the Marshall Plan — money that completely rebuilt Europe from the devastation of the Second World War. The deep-seated corruption of the Palestinian Authority is the principal reason that Palestinians continue to suffer economically. Their leaders are ripping them off quite literally.
Rather than an angel of peace, Mahmoud Abbas is just another villainous Middle East dictator who has crushed democracy, stifled popular expression, amassed wealth on the backs of his people, and glorified violence.
In that regard, there are no questions. But for us, in the West, there is one. If Western leaders and intellectuals really care for the rights and welfare of Palestinians, and if they really want to pave a path toward peace – why do they continue to throw their money and support behind an anti-democratic, repressive, thieving, and terrorist-sponsoring dictator like Mahmoud Abbas? Why do they falsely praise him as an angel of peace?
What is truly strange, however, about this bizarre proclamation on the part of the Pope is that you’d think Francis would want to get far away from the amorality of his predecessor Pius XII who refused to even once condemn Hitler or the holocaust through all the years of the Second World War. Francis is popular throughout the world and deservedly so. We do no need another Pope who cannot distinguish between good and evil. We do not need a Pope who lionizes as an “angel of peace” a man who wrote his Ph. D. thesis denying the holocaust.
And the Pope is surely aware of Abbas’s record. We’ve long witnessed the “moderate” Abbas naming public squares after Palestinian terrorists whose hands are dripping with Jewish blood. He posthumously bestowed the “Star of Honor” on Abu Jihad, the mastermind of the 1978 Coastal Road attack where 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were killed, calling him “the model of a true fighter and devoted leader.” In 2011, he named a public square after Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian woman who led the attack.
The real record of Mahmoud Abbas is what I witnessed last Thursday night in Nablus. I had come to Israel to speak at the central Jerusalem Day Celebrations at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav, attended by the President and Prime Minister Netanyahu, on Sunday night. But just as I arrived on Thursday I heard of a mid-night excursion into Shechem-Nablus to visit the tomb of Joseph.
It was an unforgettable experience consisting of having to sneak, as Jews, in the dead of night to simply pray. We were protected by more than 1000 soldiers so that we would not be murdered.
Because the true legacy of Abbas is incitement and hatred against Jews and an absolute denial to live together in peace.
Angel of peace? He is a merchant of death.
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.