What a week it’s been for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Last Thursday, his bid for non-member observer status at the United Nations passed at the General Assembly with flying colors.
Then, upon his return home to the Muqata Compound in Ramallah, he was greeted by thousands of flag-waving constituents. This was a new experience for the previously weak leader, whose grip on power has long been in question, even within his own Fatah party.
In honor of his victory in New York, which the Palestinians see as a stage in the progression to full statehood that extends across the entire land of Israel — a celebratory song was played on the official PA radio station, the Voice of Palestine.
The lyrics of the lovely ballad, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch, are as follows:
“We have accepted [our] death, so that Jerusalem will return
We are bombs, friends, when the homeland calls
My heart, with fury, exploded and scattered
The shrapnel of this life flew and the enemies were beheaded
Grieve not, Mother, shed no tears over my torn flesh
Gather [my] bones, Mother, return them to the earth ...
Allah Akbar (God is great)!
If you summon: ‘Come to self-sacrifice’
You will meet heroic men who mock death ...
We praised the Lord, and set out for martyrdom
We strapped ourselves with explosives, and trusted in Allah
Carry the load, heroes, show disaster to the settler
Neither day nor night will be sweet for him — until he leaves us.
Raise your fire. Raise! Burn the settler with it.
For the sake of Jerusalem and our holy place
We strapped ourselves with explosives
We trusted in [Allah] the Merciful and praised Him for the martyrdom
Onward, onward, men, on the roads to glory ...
We praised the Lord, and set out for martyrdom
We strapped on the explosives, and trusted in Allah.”
Suicide bombing in the name of Allah, like the standing ovation to which Abbas was treated at the U.N., is music to the Palestinian president’s ears. And buoyed by his newfound support at home and abroad, he said on Tuesday that it was time to bury the hatchet with Hamas. Since the only real difference between the warring Palestinian factions is in their short-term tactics, rather than their long-term goals, it makes much more sense for them to join forces. To do this, they will use Egypt, another ally in the war against Israel and the West in which the Middle East is engaged.
Following Operation Pillar of Defense last month — when Israel targeted terrorist bases and missile launchers in Gaza — Abbas announced that he would release all Hamas-affiliated detainees held by Fatah in the West Bank. This, he said, would be a “goodwill gesture” toward reaching reconciliation. It is Israel they should all be battling, after all, not one another.
This might be the reason that Hamas backed Abbas’ U.N. bid, which it had previously opposed, and then called his success at the General Assembly “a new victory on the road to the liberation of Palestine.”
Indeed, like Hamas, Abbas considers all of Israel to be “occupied territory,” and all of its Jewish citizens to be “settlers.”
Unlike Hamas, however, Abbas attempts to veil this in misleading language — referring to his aims as statehood along the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine,” and the “right of return” of Arab refugees into Israel.
It is this language that has enabled Abbas to be considered by the United States, Europe, and even much of Israel as a potential “partner for peace.” It has been basically the only thing he has had going for him. Until last week, that is.
Now, suddenly, he’s the Big Man on Middle East Campus, acting as though he was just anointed to a throne.
And speaking of thrones, Abbas was treated to a rare visit by Jordan’s King Abdullah II this Thursday. Amid great fanfare and the flying of Palestinian and Jordanian flags over the Muqata, Abbas’ spokesman lauded “the important role his majesty and Jordan played internationally and regionally and at the U.N. to achieve this important historical achievement."
The Jordanians, it should be noted, have much stake in the establishment of a Palestinian state inside Israel’s borders. This is because Jordan is actually the Palestinian state, but — like every other Muslim-Arab country in the region — it wants the Palestinians as far away from its own populace as possible. If this can be accomplished by destroying the Jewish state in the process, it’s a win-win situation.
While on the subject of win-win situations: Abbas is headed for Ankara on Monday, where he will meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Erdogan is only too happy to help any endeavor that endangers Israel. And now that the PA has observer status in the U.N., it has the ability to try and have Israelis prosecuted at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
In May, Turkey indicted four Israeli military commanders who were in charge at the time of the Gaza flotilla incident in 2010. The event, instigated by Turkish ships with gun-toting, knife-wielding activists, resulted in a bloody assault on Israeli soldiers who had boarded the boats — armed with paint-ball guns — to prevent them from reaching Gaza. When the Israelis fought back, nine activists were killed.
The indictment, in absentia, was against Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Navy commander Eli Marom, Air Force Intelligence chief Avishai Levy, and Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin. It would have included all the soldiers who participated in the raid, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to give the Turks their names.
The Turkish State Prosecutor’s Office charged each of the accused with ten counts of first-degree murder (nine for each dead activist and the tenth for a comatose one), assault, and torture.
Any one of the above individuals who dares to enter Turkey will be arrested immediately and put on trial.
This should shed light on the Turkish delight at Abbas’ coup, as well as on Davutoglu’s call for an independent Palestinian state with “al-Quds” [Jerusalem] as its capital.
The joyously triumphant Abbas undoubtedly will be bopping to tunes of martyrdom while packing for his upcoming trip, yet another feather in his cap.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the Arab Spring.”