Palestinian leader Abbas ‘condemns’ B’nei Brak terror attack, here’s why

Abbas said that if Mahmoud Abbas stayed silent it would endanger the easing of restrictions on Palestinians that Israel was planning ahead of Ramadan.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday night’s terror attack in Bnei Brak after a warning from Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

Abbas has not condemned a terror attack in years, perhaps fearful of backlash from the Arab street and Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Two officials with knowledge of the matter confirmed to the news site that Gantz’s office gave Abbas a “stern warning,” telling him to condemn the attack; otherwise, the PA leader was told, concessions announced by the defense minister last week to help calm tensions before Ramadan would be jeopardized.

These included a substantial increase in the number of Palestinians who could cross from Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip to work in Israel and reinstating family visitations for Gazan security prisoners in Israeli jails. Many more goods would be allowed to cross into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and the PA would be allowed to import containers directly from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge.

Less than an hour after the message was delivered, Palestinian news agency Wafa published a statement.

“President Mahmoud Abbas,” it said, “expressed tonight his condemnation of the killing of Israeli civilians earlier this evening and stressed that the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians will only lead to further deterioration of the situation, especially as we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan and the Christian and Jewish holidays.”

He then diluted the message by warning “against attempts by Israeli settlers and other sides to exploit this condemned incident to carry out attacks and reactions against our Palestinian people.”

Abbas also mentioned “the cycle of violence,” as if Israeli Jews go on shooting, ramming and stabbing sprees against Palestinian civilians such as the three deadly attacks that have occurred in the last week. In the first two, in Beersheba and Hadera, six altogether were murdered and over a dozen were injured by ISIS-affiliated Arab-Israelis. While reports indicated that Palestinian officials had privately expressed regret, they said nothing publicly.

In the latest attack on Tuesday evening, it was the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — affiliated with Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction — that claimed credit for the attack in which terrorist Dia’a Hassan Hamarshi, from a village near Jenin, murdered five men in Bnei Brak.

After that attack, a rally in support of the terrorists took place in the PA city of Jenin. Palestinian terror supporters passed out candy in the Gaza Strip, PA cities and near Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

No decision has been made yet on the Israeli side regarding any potential backtracking on the lifting of restrictions due to the string of terror attacks. Israeli security forces have been reinforced throughout the country in an effort to prevent any copycat attempts.