An appalled international community was swift to condemn Hamas’ unprecedented and unprovoked terror onslaught on Saturday that murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians and kidnapped dozens more. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, was swift to blame Israel for triggering the carnage.
Abbas told French President Emmanuel Macron, according to a report from the PA-linked WAFA news agency, that the reason for what the article called the “current escalation” is the “political impasse” between Israel and the Palestinians. Abbas pointed to the lack of a Palestinian state and claims of what the report called Israeli “aggression”. That, and the international community’s failure to address the matter, was driving the situation to an “explosion”. Abbas, who in the report did not mention the butchered Israeli civilians or the kidnapped elderly or children once, instead urged the French President to stop Israel’s “aggression” against Palestinians.
Abbas and the PA are currently—ostensibly—opposed to using terrorism to pursue their statehood goals, but that masks a darker reality beneath the surface. This includes past controversies for Abbas over insufficient condemnation of terrorism and celebration of terrorists by Palestinian institutions. In addition, the PA has also faced international opposition for their “pay-to-slay” program that provides financial benefits to the families of terrorists killed or imprisoned by Israel—effectively incentivizing terrorism.
If Abbas’ comments to Macron were starkly unapologetic, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry’s were even more so. In an additional report by WAFA, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused Israel—not Hamas—of committing the war crime of killing civilians and slammed the international community for permitting it under what WAFA called the “pretext” of Israeli self-defense. In a separate report, WAFA quoted the Foreign Ministry claiming they had “repeatedly warned of the consequences” of not granting the Palestinians an independent state. The PA Foreign Ministry also claimed actions by Israel and the world are “the reason behind the explosive situation and the absence of peace and security in the region.”
Elsewhere, however, the message was different. United States President Joe Biden in a post on X—formerly known as Twitter—said of Saturday’s Hamas atrocities: “The world is seeing appalling images. Thousands of rockets raining down on Israeli cities. Hamas terrorists killing not only Israeli soldiers, but civilians on the streets and in their homes. It’s unconscionable. Israel has a right to defend itself – full stop.”
French President Macron, in his own post to X, wrote: “I strongly condemn the current terrorist attacks against Israel. I express my full solidarity with the victims, their families and loved ones.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, according to a press summary published to the United Kingdom government website, told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a call that “that the UK will stand with Israel unequivocally against these acts of terror.” In addition to offering Israel support, Sunak also “outlined the diplomatic work the UK is doing to ensure the world speaks with one voice in opposition to these appalling attacks.”
The expressions of support are widespread. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hebrew X page, as translated by Google, reported on Sunday that 82 nations had so far published messages condemning the Hamas terror attack.
In addition to public condemnations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been in communication with a range of Middle Eastern nations. The State Department released press summaries of calls on Saturday between Blinken and counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. In the calls, Blinken labelled the Hamas attack with a variety of harsh adjectives: “horrific”, “appalling”, and “brutality”.
Blinken even had a message for Palestinian President Abbas. Per the State Department summary of the call, the top US diplomat “reiterated the United States’ unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, and called on all leadership in the region to condemn them.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 8, 2023)