While Persecuting Christians, Mahmoud Abbas Puts Himself Forward as Their Defender

Nov. 19 2019

Next month, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas can be expected to attend Christmas-eve services at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Western media can be expected to air footage of him there while reporters comment on the alleged plight of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli occupation. These reporters can also be counted on to ignore the mistreatment of Christians by the PA; Bassam Tawil points to the recent death of a sixty-three-year-old woman named Terez Ta’amneh as illustrative:

Ta’amneh, a Christian woman from the town of Bet Jala, near Bethlehem, . . . died when PA police officers raided her home to arrest her son, Yusef, for unpaid debts. The story of Ta’amneh [could] cause serious damage to the PA’s propaganda machine, which is preoccupied with blaming Israel for the fact that a large number of Christians have left the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past few decades.

The police officers, [Ta’amneh’s] daughter Marian said, attacked her brother and began beating him in front of their mother. “My mother told them that Yusef suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. She begged them to stop beating him. In response, the commander . . . pointed a pistol at my brother’s head and threatened to open fire. He told my mother: we have orders to open fire at him.” According to Marian, her mother panicked and collapsed, dying instantly.

So far as Abbas is concerned, it is business as usual. The cries of the Christian family in Bet Jala seem entirely lost on him. Next month, he and his senior officials will arrive in Bethlehem and again talk about the harmony and brotherly relations between Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. . . . What he seeks is to continue ensuring the success of the Palestinian lie that Christians are fleeing because of Israel.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Christmas, Mahmoud Abbas, Middle East Christianity, Palestinian Authority


Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship