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

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


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict