No, Abbas Did Not Condemn the Hamas Attacks

For the record: Abbas, unlike Netanyahu and Obama, did not condemn Tuesday night’s attack. He mildly criticized it as inexpedient, generalized it in a way that negates its actual nature, and exploited it to tar Israel and Israelis for something they are not guilty of.

On Wednesday night, the car of another Israeli couple, Rabbi Moshe and Shira Romeno, was hit by terrorist bullets north of Jerusalem. Both of them were injured and evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital.

Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Abbas apparently referred to both attacks in saying:

What happened yesterday and what is happening today is also condemned. We do not want at all that any blood be shed, one drop of blood ... from the Israelis or the Palestinians. We want people in the two countries to lead a normal life. We want them to live as neighbors and partners forever. Let us sign an agreement, a final agreement, for peace, and put an end to a very long period of struggle forever.

Again, some of the tonalities may seem pleasant, but an actual condemnation of the two specific, vicious attacks in the kind of strong, direct language that Netanyahu and Obama used is absent.

From the vague “what happened yesterday and what is happening today,” Abbas passes quickly to another Israeli-Palestinian equivalency -- again misleadingly evoking generalized, mutual violence when what is at hand is the continuing phenomenon of Palestinian terror against Israelis.

However, culpable as Abbas’s failure to condemn the two attacks is, doing so would also have been blameworthy -- on grounds of hypocrisy.

As heavily documented by Palestinian Media Watch and others, under Abbas’s presidency the Palestinian Authority has been little less than a breeding ground for terrorism. The most egregious terrorists have public squares named after them and are glorified -- here and here, for instance -- by Abbas himself.

At the same White House ceremony Wednesday evening, Netanyahu said: “President Abbas, you are my partner in peace.” Netanyahu is in a delicate position, having to balance relations with Obama against other key Israeli interests. Those less constrained are free to ask why Abbas, if he can’t bring himself to genuinely condemn even the most bloodcurdling acts of terror, is treated as part of a peace equation at all.