‘Gross affront to Holocaust victims and survivors’: US envoy blasts Abbas

US, Israeli diplomats slam PA leader while Jerusalem worries about potential UN blacklist.

By Mike Wagenheim, JNS

The American ambassador to the United Nations blasted the Palestinian Authority’s leader during a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday morning.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield chastised PA head Mahmoud Abbas for his incendiary speech during the UN’s “Nakba Day” event on May 15.

Thomas-Greenfield said that Abbas’s equivocation of Israel “with the lies of infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels” was a “gross affront to Holocaust victims and survivors.”

She added that making such a statement “about the world’s only Jewish state is entirely unacceptable, especially during a time of rising antisemitic violence around the world.”

In that speech, Abbas aired out a list of grievances he said contributed to the Palestinians’ current predicament, including a claim that the United States and the United Kingdom sent their Jews to the Land of Israel in order to benefit their own countries.

Thomas-Greenfield said on May 24 that Abbas’s rhetoric was “totally without basis, and it is deeply offensive to the American people.”

Notably, the United States was among 45 countries that did not attend the “Nakba Day” event, according to the Israeli mission to the United Nations, and no U.S. State Department officials met with Abbas during his trip. No senior UN officials met with him either.

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Thomas-Greenfield was also critical on Wednesday of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s May 21 visit to the Temple Mount, which she deemed “provocative,” including the “accompanying inflammatory rhetoric.” She said, “This holy place should not be used for political purposes. We call on all parties to respect the sanctity.”

She also repeated the State Department’s stated position of being “deeply troubled” by Israel’s decision to allow citizens back into the area of Homesh in northern Samaria, one of four area settlements previously abandoned during the unilateral 2005 Gaza disengagement.

The Israeli government reportedly told Washington that it did not intend to reopen Homesh as a settlement, even as a military decree allowed for Jews to reenter the hilltop outpost.

Thomas-Greenfield condemned anti-Arab speech that occurred during the May 18 flag day march through Jerusalem on May 18. The chants “are outrageous and they are unacceptable,” she said.

‘Palestinian children as human shields’

Separately, UN Secretary-General António Guterres met on Tuesday with Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In that Defense Ministry role, Alian is in charge of implementing the government’s civilian policy within the territories of Judea and Samaria.

The purpose of the meeting was to present Guterres with data and context as the UN leader decides whether to include Israel on a blacklist of countries and organizations that harm children in conflict zones.

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The Israeli mission to the United Nations said Alian gave Guterres information relevant to Palestinian minors injured by errant missiles fired by Gaza-based terror groups that fall short into Gazan territory, along with evidence that a number of Palestinian minors killed in Israeli counterterrorism operations have substantial ties to terror groups, thereby distorting the picture painted in UN reports.

“The secretary-general was also provided with examples of the incitement to terror that is rampant within the Palestinian Authority, both on social media and Internet networks and in schools, which in turn cause a high level of children and teenagers to be involved in terrorist activities,” a statement from the mission said.

The report generally names and shames notorious terror organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram for the harm perpetrated on children. The addition of Israel to the list would be a boon to those seeking to delegitimize the country.

2021 report warned that Israel would be added to the list should Palestinian minor casualty numbers rise in 2022. The figures trended downward last year, but a rise in those numbers in 2023 has Israeli officials concerned that Guterres will take action, according to JNS sources.

“We presented the secretary-general with clear data proving that the majority of Palestinian minors killed in the past year were involved in acts of violence and terrorism, and this information was omitted from the UN data, along with the fact that terrorist organizations use Palestinian children as human shields, and fire missiles and rockets from densely populated areas,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan wrote in the statement.

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He added: “Whoever is responsible for the incitement and recruitment of minors for murder and terrorism is the one who should be included on the blacklist, not the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], which is the most moral army in the world.”

A spokesman for Guterres would not provide a readout or details of the meeting between Guterres and Alian or respond directly when asked if Israel should be concerned with the report’s impending release, telling JNS that “there is great interest around the report” and that “everyone needs to be patient.”

The spokesman said the report is expected in late June or early July.