Israel Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has issued a stinging criticism of the presence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as other Arab leaders he deemed to be complicit in terrorism, at today’s anti-terrorism rally in Paris. “Their hands are covered in blood,” Bennett declared in an interview with Army Radio in Israel.
As well as Abbas, Bennett singled out Gulf emirate Qatar for its support of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas organization. “It’s hypocritical of those same Qataris and Arabs who are financing terrorism to come and demonstrate as if against terrorism,” Bennett told a Jewish youth group in the French capital. “I don’t accept this.”
Bennett also said there was no difference between terrorism directed against a Jewish community in the West Bank and that on the streets of Paris. “When an Islamist murderer kills the Fogel family in Itamar, when Abu Mazen [Abbas] finances terrorists who afterwards go and blow themselves up in Tel Aviv, it’s no different from those same terrorists in Paris,” Bennett, the leader of Israel’s nationalist Jewish Home Party, said. “We won’t let 2015 turn into 1938.”
French-Israeli artist and political activist Ron Agam told The Algemeiner that Qatar’s enormous financial influence in France was blunting the response of the French authorities to Doha’s role in supporting terrorist groups. Qatar, he said, owns the iconic Paris St Germain soccer team and has investments in France worth $6.5 billion in leading companies like Total Oil and Veolia, and enjoys as well privileged access to French Muslims through its Al Jazeera news broadcaster. “The Qataris have a privileged relationship with former President Nicolas Sarkozy, and all of the main French politicians are regularly invited to their embassy in Paris and to Doha,” Agam said. As far as Abbas was concerned, Agam said, “France will soon realize that he is more interested in prolonging the struggle of the Palestinians than negotiating in good faith with Israel.”
The presence of the prime minister of Turkey, which actively backs Hamas, also didn’t pass unnoticed. “There they are, right in the first row in the march against terrorism, #MahmoudAbbas and #AhmetDavutoğlu. What a joke,” said Middle East Forum president and historian Daniel Pipes on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Israeli watchdog Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) issued a reminder that Abbas himself continues to glorify acts of terror against Israelis.
“Just last week, five terrorists, who in total recently killed 10 Israelis, were included on a list of ‘Martyrs of 2014′ who ‘ascended’ to Heaven, published in the bi-weekly Al-Asima distributed with the official Palestinian Authority daily,” PMW reported.
“The terrorists on the list, who were called ‘Shahids‘ (Martyrs) and thereby achieve the highest status possible in Islam, included the synagogue murderers who recently killed 5, three terrorists who killed 5 by running them over with cars and an excavator, and the terrorist who attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick,” PMW added.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama’s absence from the rally was also the subject of criticism. Wrote Forbes magazine commentator Stuart Anderson, “In a statement, President Obama said, ‘And I think it’s important for us to understand, France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow.’ But he won’t be standing with them on Sunday.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that Obama’s decision not to attend was “disappointing, as it’s a missed opportunity to build a momentum among people of all faiths and among people of none to fight against Islamist terrorism.”
Cooper praised French President Francois Hollande for showing leadership at the Paris rally.
“I give a lot of credit to Hollande for calling out anti-Semitism when media wasn’t, and for walking at the head of the line, at the rally,” Cooper said. “Hollande created a moment of solidarity around the world in the fight against Islamist terrorists. He stepped up and showed leadership.”