Incitement Enables Terror in Israel, in Turkey, and Elsewhere

While Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party do not organize suicide bombings or aim rockets at Israeli civilians, they engage in and abet hate-filled rhetoric and calls to shed Jewish blood that have real and dire consequences. Many Israelis understand that peace is impossible without curbing such incitement, which is endemic throughout the region. Michael Rubin explains why those concerned with terrorism elsewhere must be equally attentive:

Increasingly, as Turkey’s recent string of terrorist attacks show, [such incitement] is becoming a cancer within Turkish society. Consider the New Year’s attack on the Reina nightclub. The Friday prayer sermon read by imams across the country on December 30 condemned New Year’s celebrations as illegitimate and suggested no truly believing Muslim would mark the occasion. There may not be direct causality between the sermon and the attack . . . but the bombardment of society with anti-secular and anti-tolerant attitudes made Reina a legitimate target in some Islamist circles. . . .

Turkey is not alone. Incitement is a staple of [official Iranian] rhetoric—be it weekly state-sanctioned “Death to America” chants or the entreaties to genocide against Israel and Jews more broadly. Incitement, too, explains ordinary Egyptian intolerance toward Israel decades after the two countries signed a peace agreement.

It is one thing for diplomats and counterterror practitioners to wring their hands at online terror recruitment by al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and like-minded groups, but U.S. policy continues to fall flat when it comes to incitement promoted by authorities or states like the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Egypt, or Turkey. Turkey is perhaps the most tragic case because the country’s transformation has been entirely preventable had the Bush and Obama administrations not chosen to hide their heads in the sand.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Mahmoud Abbas, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, Terrorism, Turkey

How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy