Mahmoud Abbas condemns B’nei Brak terror, but so what?

Israelis repeatedly called on Abbas to condemn Palestinian terror attacks, but when he finally did, it rang hollow.

By Pesach Benson, World Israel News

Palestinian Authority President Mahmourd Abbas enjoyed the luxury of silence when Muhammad Abu Al-Kiyan went on a terror spree in Beersheba last week.

The terrorist was from the Israeli Bedouin village of Hura. That made the four dead and two injured Israel’s headache, not Ramallah’s.

It was also Israel’s headache when cousins Ibrahim and Ayman Aghbaria opened fire on Israelis in Hadera, killing two and injuring 12 on Sunday. The Aghbarias were from the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, near Haifa.

Abbas could have condemned the attacks on the simple basis that murder is wrong. But the deeply unpopular Abbas had nothing to gain by condemning those attacks. Hamas, as usual, praised the attacks.

Besides, Israelis’ ire was directed at the Israeli police and courts. Al-Kiyan and the Aghbaria cousins had all served time in prison for attempting to enter Syria to join the Islamic State and people wanted to know why they were free.

But Abbas’s strategy of silence ran out on Tuesday night when Dia’a Hassan Hamarshi went on a rampage, killing five people in B’nei Brak. Hamarshi was from the Palestinian village of Yabad, near Jenin.

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That’s in the Palestinian Authority, making it Abbas’s predicament.

The risk-averse PA president was apparently going to stick to his radio silence, but Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stepped in.

Condemn the attack, Gantz threatened, or Israeli goodwill gestures for the upcoming Ramadan holiday will be cancelled.

Measures at risk included additional entry permits for Palestinians to worship on the Temple Mount, reinstating family visits for Gaza security prisoners in Israel jails, more work permits, more goods that the PA can import from Jordan, and an easing of travel restrictions in Judea and Samaria.

Abbas reportedly issued a statement within an hour of receiving Gantz’s message. After all, Ramadan in lockdown is no fun.

Abbas “expressed his condemnation of the killing of Israeli civilians Wednesday, emphasizing that the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads the situation to deteriorate,” the statement said. “The cycle of violence confirms that a comprehensive, just and stable peace is the shortest, most correct path to security and stability for both peoples.”

Satisfying? Not really.

For years, Israelis have called on the stone-faced Abbas to unequivocally condemn terror attacks. But when the Palestinian leader finally delivered, it rang hollow.

The condemnation was for Israeli audiences, not for Palestinians.

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Palestinians celebrated the B’nei Brak attack by distributing sweets.

And somewhere in Ramallah, an accountant for the Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund is opening a file with the name Dia’a Hassan Hamarshi, calculating the monthly terror stipend payments.