Abbas in Apparent Campaign to Embrace Purveyors of Violence
As the debate over President Trump’s declaration of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital intensifies, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be increasingly determined to embrace those who commit acts of violence and their families. The meetings can be seen as more than a gesture to Abbas’ constituents, but as a rebuke to the American administration and Congress. President Trump has regularly demanded that the Palestinian Authority end its program of paying stipends to assailants who survive terror attacks and their families and the families of those who died while attempting to kill Israelis. Congress, meanwhile, overwhelmingly passed the Taylor Force Act, which will deny any aid allocations to the PA as long as the stipends continue. Abbas has repeatedly rejected the demands from Washington along with similar demands from European capitals. Apparently seeking to make the point with action rather than rhetoric, the PA president has unambiguously rejected the foreign entreaties with action as well as words. On Christmas eve, Abbas hosted a notorious terrorist in the official Office of the President. His meeting with Rafat Jawabra, who was released from an Israeli jail after serving 17 years for planning a suicide bombing in 2001, was also a reminder that the Fatah faction, typically seen as the “moderates” when compared to the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization, has its own terrorist arm: the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of which Jawabra is an officer. Lest there be any mistake regarding Abbas’ position, photos of the president and the terrorist were posted by Abbas’ office. Then, on December 27, Abbas telephoned the parents of a 17-year old girl who became an overnight sensation among Palestinians when she was filmed kicking, slapping and cursing out Israeli soldiers during a demonstration at the village of Nabi Salih.