New York – Palestinian Authority (PA) chief, Mahmoud Abbas, has responded to yesterdays terrorist attack in the Israeli city of Hadera without condemning terrorism as evil, but merely regretting that it harms Palestinian interests. In Hadera, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated his explosives on Wednesday at an outdoor market in Hadera, killing at least five people and wounding 30 more. Ambulances rushed to the scene after the explosion at the falafel stand, which was in an open air market next to the central bus station. The dead and maimed were sprawled on the ground amid scattered fruit and burnt-out cars. The terrorist act was claimed by Islamic Jihad at a joint Islamic Jihad — Fatah press conference at which masked gunmen from both groups appeared (Jerusalem Post, October 27).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, This is not the first time Mahmoud Abbas has failed to condemn terrorism as a crime and an abomination, but merely as something that harms Palestinian interests. For example Abbas has said, I dont want my comment on the demilitarization of the uprising to be misunderstood All I meant is that we are in a phase that does not necessitate arms because we want to negotiate (Washington Times, December 15, 2004). On another occasion, Abbas described a terrorist attack, not as a crime against Israelis, but as a crime against the Palestinian people (New York Times, July 13, 2005).
On yet another occasion, Abbas was reported to have said of the murder of a Jewish couple that, the timing of the attack, on the eve of Israels withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, did not serve the Palestinians interests (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2005) — implying that if it had been carried out at another time it would have been fully justified.
It is completely unacceptable that Mahmoud Abbas treats terrorism as a public relations issue, not as a scourge to be denounced and eliminated. He clearly believes that there is a time and place for terrorism. His failure to publicly condemn terrorism in clear, moral terms, along with the glorification of terrorists in the Palestinian media, mosques, schools, textbooks and youth camps, sends a strong message to Palestinian Arabs that terrorism is noble and encourages more Palestinians to go out and try and murder Israelis.
Mahmoud Abbas must act immediately to condemn and fight terrorism within Palestinian society. If he does not, no further negotiations and concessions should be made to him and his regime.