Why the State Department won't acknowledge the truth about Fatah


By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org

The U.S. State Department denounced the latest terrorist attack in Jerusalem by condemning “the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack.”

At first, it might seem like good news President Barack Obama's administration finally acknowledged and criticized the horrendous glorification of terrorist attacks we read about almost every day.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Until you notice the State Department forgot to mention one little thing--the identity of those it condemned. Who exactly has been making statements "glorifying" the attack? Who called the terrorist a hero and a martyr? Who defended and justified the murder of an Israeli Jewish grandmother?

The answer is Fatah, whose chairman is Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) created the PA in 1994 to govern territories from which Israel was withdrawing. Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, was the first head of the PA. After he died, Abbas succeeded him.

The PLO consists of eight terrorist organizations, Fatah being the largest. Arafat was chairman of Fatah and the PLO. Following his death, Abbas become chairman of Fatah and the PLO. In other words, Abbas--hailed as a "moderate" by the Obama administration, the United Nations and the international news media--is chairman of the movement that is spearheading the glorification of the Jerusalem terrorist attack.

A screenshot of Fatah's Facebook page showing a machine gun on top of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock. Credit: Palestinian Media Watch. 

Within hours of the most recent Oct. 9 attack, Fatah's Facebook page featured a large, full-color cartoon depicting a hand with a machine gun waving from the top of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock. On the ground below are two Israeli army helmets in a pool of blood. They represent Israeli police officer Yosef Kirme, 29 and the grandmother, Levanah Malichi, 60, murdered in the attack. Evidently, Fatah regards Israeli grandmothers as soldiers.

Fatah's Facebook page also featured an announcement praising "the shahid (martyr) Musbah Abu Sbeih, the one who carried out the operation." Abbas's Fatah uses the word "operation" when referring to terrorist attacks. That's because it doesn't consider murdering Israelis as terrorism. Palestinian Media Watch notes, "Defining a dead murderer as a shahid indicates that, according to Fatah, the murder of Israelis is sanctioned and even desired in the name of Islam."

The Fatah posting described the terrorist as "one of the most prominent people in Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque." It said the charges Sbeih was recently convicted of in Israeli court constituted "ribat," an Islamic term referring to praiseworthy religious conflicts over Muslim land. The posting further justified his attack, claiming "the occupation authorities persecuted him."

Abbas's Fatah further justified the attack by falsely claiming, "The occupation government…is granting permission to the settlers to invade it, defile it, and desecrate its sanctity on a daily basis under the umbrella and protection of the occupation police."

False claims about Jews "defiling" other people's religious sites have been used throughout the ages to stir up anti-Jewish hatred and violence. It's called blood libel.

At the same time, the Jerusalem branch of Abbas's Fatah issued a call to Arab shopkeepers to go on strike “in memory of the souls of the martyrs of Palestine and this morning’s martyr.” The PA's official Voice of Palestine Radio broadcast called for the strike “due to the death of the Shahid Abu Sbeih.”

So why won't the Obama administration acknowledge the truth about what Abbas's Fatah is doing? Why won't it refer to Abbas and Fatah by name? Because here's what would happen.

Obama would have to put Fatah back on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. (Supporting and encouraging terrorism is one of the criteria for getting on the list.) He would have to stop giving Abbas $500 million each year, since it's against the law to give U.S. funds to terrorist groups. And Obama would have to give up his dream of forcing Israel to permit the creation of a Palestinian state led by Abbas, Fatah and the PA.

Stephen Flatow

Obama's political agenda--his entire policy concerning Israel and the Palestinian Arabs--conflicts with telling the truth about Fatah.

No matter how loudly Abbas's Fatah cheers for terrorists, the Obama administration will never do more than make vague allusions to "the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack," without ever identifying who is doing the glorifying.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Posted on October 14, 2016 .