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Khaled Abu Toameh: An Arab Israeli Daniel Come to Judgment



Khaled Abu Toameh is an Israeli Arab who since 2002 has been the Jerusalem Post’s main reporter on Arab affairs. He has the disturbing — for the Palestinian Authority — habit of telling the truth. Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies would love to silence him.

His latest piece on why the Palestinians are not ready for statehood, and won’t be until their entire corrupt leadership has been changed, can be found here: “The Palestinians and the World Do Not Need Another Corrupt, Failed Terrorist Arab State,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, :

…The truth, however, is that neither the Palestinian Authority leadership nor the Palestinian people is ready for statehood. And the responsibility for that fact lies squarely with the ruthless and failed Palestinian leaders.

The Palestinian bid to obtain UN recognition of a Palestinian state comes at a time when the PA appears to be losing control over some parts of the West Bank, where gunmen belonging to several groups have replaced the Palestinian security forces… [and] are responsible not only for terrorist attacks against Israel, but also the growing scenes of anarchy and lawlessness….

In the West Bank, and especially in the northern cities of Nablus and Jenin, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been gaining members at the expense of the P.A.’s Fatah. Many Palestinians have lost all faith in Mahmoud Abbas. His corruption and grand theft have allowed him to accumulate a family fortune with his sons Tarek and Yasser of some $400 million. While the exact sums are not known to the Palestinians, they are aware that he’s been helping himself, and his sons, to a great deal of money. Abbas maintains the loyalty of underlings in two ways. First, he allows members of his political echelon to also enrich themselves, though to a much smaller degree, by diverting aid money meant to benefit all the Palestinians. Second, Abbas also dispenses government sinecures to the relatives of those loyalists.

Abbas himself has long been praising and glorifying Palestinians who carry out terrorist attacks.

Though Abbas presents himself to the West as opposing terrorism, as the Palestinians had formally committed themselves to in the Oslo Accords, he continues to reward terrorists with his “Pay-For-Slay” program, according to which large monthly subsidies are given to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists who were killed while launching their attacks. That program both rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorism. It’s a program so dear to Abbas’ heart that he has proclaimed that no matter what pressure might be brought to bear on him to end it (as from those Americans who, unlike the Bidenites, take seriously the Taylor Force Act), he will support “Pay-For-Slay” with his “last penny.”

But that is not the only way Abbas supports terrorism. He names schools, streets, squares, and sports competitions after the worst of the terrorists – such people as Dalal Mughrabi, the leader of the Coastal Road Massacre, in which 38 Israeli civilians were murdered, 13 of them children. His television and radio extol the terrorists; on the Palestinian children’s shows, tiny tots hold tiny knives and make stabbing motions as they declare their readiness to kill Jews. In the P.A.’s schoolbooks, despite repeated protests from Western donors, antisemitic passages are everywhere to be found.

Abbas, who is unable (and unwilling) to rein in a few hundred gunmen in two major Palestinian cities in the West Bank, wants the United Nations, its member states and the rest of the world to believe that he is ready to run a state of his own.

It is absurd, argues Khaled Abu Toameh, for someone who cannot even control the security situation in the small territory he controls, someone who can’t manage to prevent the prevailing anarchy and chaos by rounding up just a few hundred gunmen, to think that he is ready to run a state.

If Abbas cannot send his officers to confiscate an M-16 rifle from an unruly gunman in Jenin or Nablus, how can he be trusted to prevent the future Palestinian state from turning into a launching pad for regional terrorism?

Abbas wants the UN to grant the Palestinians the status of full member state, but cannot provide any guarantees that the aspired-for state would not be turned into a terror entity that is armed and funded by Iran’s regime and its proxies.

Abbas’ writ does not run in Gaza. Nor does it run in the most important cities in the West Bank, Nablus and Jenin, where his Hamas and PIJ rivals have taken violent control, and the men of Fatah are now afraid to challenge them. His own security services are now outmanned and outgunned, and will not risk their lives trying to take back control of the towns and cities the P.A. formerly controlled. Abbas has lost his former power to command. He was his own worst enemy. He enraged those over whom he ruled when at the beginning of 2021 he promised to hold elections for the first time since 2005 – he is in the 17th year of his four-year term –and then canceled those elections when he realized he could not possibly win. He further infuriated the Palestinians when Nizar Banat, his most trenchant critic on social media, was seized and beaten to death by Abbas’ goons. And word of his wealth, for a long time ignored, has now spread throughout the West Bank, though its colossal size has still not been made clear. 80% of the Palestinians now say that they want Mahmoud Abbas to resign.

Abbas wants the UN to recognize “Palestine” as a state when he literally has no control over half of the Palestinians… If Abbas dares to go to the Gaza Strip, Hamas will hang him at the entrance to the area on charges of “collaboration” with Israel.

Abbas has no control, in truth, over more than 2/3 of the Palestinians – all those in Gaza, where Hamas rules, and in much of the West Bank, too. The only city whose allegiance he can be sure of is Ramallah, the seat of his government, where so many of those who owe their sinecures to him now live.

Abbas is seeking full UN recognition at a time when he continues to block general elections for the PA, arrests and intimidates his political opponents, refuses to share power with other Palestinians and muzzles freedom of expression.

Abbas handpicks his most loyal spaniels to be his ministers, including his Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. He has been grooming the wildly unpopular Hussein al-Sheikh to be his successor, no doubt counting on Al-Sheikh, grateful for his elevation, to leave Abbas’ two sons alone to enjoy their ill-gotten gains after their father is no longer around to protect them.

More than they need a state, the Palestinians need good leadership. They need to rid themselves of the corrupt leaders who have deprived them of international aid and led them from one disaster after the other since the early 1970s, when the PLO was expelled from Jordan for undermining the kingdom’s sovereignty.

In the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas and his collaborators have enriched themselves while they have impoverished the Palestinians in two ways. First, they have simply “diverted” – stolen – so much of the foreign aid before it could reach its intended recipients, the people ruled by the Palestinian Authority. Second, Abbas’ fantastic corruption, his constant whining for more aid, and his attacks on the Arab states that joined the Abraham Accords, have all led his Arab donors to slash their aid. In 2020, the Arab states collectively cut their aid to the PA by 85%. Now that aid has decreased still further, down almost to nothing. And Western powers have cut their aid, too, because of Abbas’ refusal to clean up the antisemitism in his schoolbooks, and his refusal to hold elections, his refusal to allow a free press and free speech, his arrests of dissidents and especially his responsibility for the murder of Banat, have all enraged Western donors.

Khaled Abu Toameh sees the Palestinian leadership as one of total failure. Mahmoud Abbas, as before him the late and unlamented thug Yassir Arafat, needs to answer for his crimes against his own people – the massive thievery, the arrests of human rights campaigners, the terrorizing of political dissidents and critics, the roundups of journalists who try to tell the truth about the grasping Mahmoud Abbas, his sons, and his cronies.

These issues are more pressing for the Palestinians than another worthless document by the UN recognizing a fictitious Palestinian state that is already marked by the intrusion of other brutal radical Islamist dictatorships.

The “other brutal radical Islamist dictatorships” is a clear allusion to Iran, which supports with money and weapons both Hamas and the PIJ in Gaza. What is the point of the UN recognizing a “Palestinian state”? Will it improve the lot of the Palestinians, or will it instead benefit Abbas and his chosen successors, who will declare such recognition to be “a great victory for the Palestinians”? How will such recognition of statehood help the Palestinians to hold free elections, to suddenly have a free press and free speech? How would a newly-recognized “Palestinian state” be any better able to take back control of Jenin and Nablus from Hamas and the PIJ?

Mahmoud Abbas is 86 and in poor health. When he leaves, perhaps those he oppressed for so long will finally be able to sweep aside his chosen successor Hussein al-Sheikh, and his courtiers such as Muhammad Shtayyeh, for their writ does not run beyond Ramallah. And then the people in the P.A. may finally choose, instead of more Lords of Misrule, a quasi-decent government responsive to its people. Should that come to pass, Khaled Abu Toameh will lead the list of those who must be thanked.