US Ambassador Friedman slams Palestinians for silence on recent terror attacks

Palestinian affairs experts concur, saying Abbas is encouraging violence while failing to condemn recent deadly attacks.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

US Ambassador David Friedman denounced recent terrorist attacks in the north and Jerusalem, and at the same time condemned the failure of the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to do the same. Friedman was reacting to two weeks of PA silence in the face of terrorism and had sharp words for the Palestinian leadership.

Friedman tweeted on Monday, “Tragedy in Israel. Two young soldiers, Netanel Kahalani and Ziv Daos, murdered in the north, and father of 4, Adiel Kolman, murdered in Jerusalem, by Palestinian terrorists. Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA! I pray for the families and the wounded – so much sadness.”

Rejecting Friedman’s advice, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in response to that tweet, “The statements by the US ambassador lead us to wonder about the ambassador’s relationship with the occupation: Does he represent the US or Israel?”

The Director of Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, confirmed to World Israel News (WIN), “We monitored all of the Palestinian media and there was not a word of condemnation for either attack. A Fatah publication has a photo of parents of one of the victims. They also ran photos of the killers. They refer to the murderous attacks as ‘actions’ but at least they refrained from calling the attackers ‘heroes.’”

Marcus was not convinced by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s accusing Abbas on Friday with inflaming the conflict on the Gaza border between Israel and Hamas.

According to Marcus, “Abbas condemns Hamas at every occasion. But he does not want Israel and Hamas to be clashing. He knows that whoever clashes with Israel goes up in popularity and that’s the last thing Abbas wants.”

Palestinian Affairs expert Pinchas Inbari told WIN, “Abbas wants Hamas to yield authority of Gaza to the PA. He has no interest in warfare between Hamas and Israel, unless Israel attempts to end their rule, and hand over authority to him.”

“He wants violence in [Judea and Samaria]. Since the Jerusalem declaration by President Trump, Abbas has been encouraging violence in Judea and Samaria. If not, his leadership is viewed as a failure. He is not doing it himself but has those close to him inciting,” Marcus said.

According to Inbari, “Abbas is personally against terrorism and he used to regularly condemn attacks while the peace process was underway. Now he has pressure from Fatah to allow and encourage attacks and he gives in to their demands. He was very much against stabbings and fought Fatah on this but he lost the battle and cannot control what they say. Abbas would prefer a popular, non-violent intifada. With the peace process dormant he can no longer control the incitement to violence. In effect the Palestinians are saying the Oslo process is no longer relevant and they are not obliged to play by the rules.”

On Friday, Liberman predicted that the next few months would be particularly tense in the run up to Israel’s 70th Independence Day anniversary in May, and the coinciding US move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Liberman said he was less worried about attacks in Judea and Samaria and more worried about a full-scale conflict with Hamas in Gaza. According to Liberman, “What particularly stands out is the attempt by Abbas to bring about deterioration in the security situation and bring Israel into conflict with Hamas.”