By J. Levitt
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, gave exclusive footage to Lebanon’s pan-Arab satellite broadcaster Mayadeen TV to show off weapons it claimed to have taken during clashes in Gaza from an elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces, along with locally-manufactured rockets.
In the segment, an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader vowed to continue the “armed struggle – kidnapping soldiers, striking the enemy, and martyrdom operations” and use the missiles “to attack Zionist armed vehicles.”
The report could embarrass and weaken Abbas at a time when international mediators are trying to raise his status as the potential peace keeper for Gaza, although his inability or lack of interest to disarm Fatah’s own Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades raises more questions about his own desires for living peacefully with Israel.
“The only effective course of action against the enemy is armed struggle – kidnapping soldiers, striking the enemy, and martyrdom operations, ” an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader said in the footage translated by MEMRI and flagged on Wednesday by blogger Elder of Ziyon. “We in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades promise you that we are preparing a high-profile attack against the Zionist enemy: kidnapping Zionist soldiers and imprisoning them, in order to empty the Zionist prisons of our commanders and comrades held there.”
As solutions to the conflict in Gaza point towards Fatah, in the West Bank, rising above the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad factions, in Gaza, blogger Elder of Ziyon called out the hypocrisy of the party, and Abbas, in particular, for never renouncing the violence or clamping down on its own armed wing.
“Not once has Abbas denounced the terrorist groups that operate under his own party,” the blogger said. “This is one of the biggest unreported stories of the war – the Israelis don’t want to mention it because they are cooperating with the PA on security and don’t want to embarrass Abbas, and the media stays away from the topic because it contradicts their meme of Abbas being a man of peace.”
Indeed, Abbas is routinely referred to as a “moderate” and a “partner for peace,” although his 2013 negotiations with Israel ended with a stalemate, as did the 2006 negotiations with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, when, after weeks and weeks, Olmert said he thought that all of the issues had been discussed and agreed upon, Abbas simply never returned to the table.
Other factors that emerged recently with the first book review, in Hebrew, and now in English, by Dr. Edi Cohen, of Abbas’s PhD thesis from Oriental Studies Institute in Moscow in 1982 that was published as a book, also questions his sincerity in seeking peace with Israel.
Published in Amman in 1984, Cairo in 1997 and Ramallah in 2011, and available on his presidency’s website, Abbas’s book is called The Other Face: The Secret Contacts Between Nazism and Zionism. His thesis is a counter-factual version of the Holocaust that makes two audacious claims based on tenuous sources. Rather than 6 million Jews in Europe dying at the hand of the Nazis, Abbas believes that less than 1 million were killed and the gas chambers were all fakes. Even more disturbingly, and as described in his title, Abbas argues that Zionists and Nazis colluded to inflate the death toll to fool the world into supporting Zionism.
In Dr. Cohen’s translation, Abbas wrote: “It seems that it was the interest of the Zionist movement to inflate the numbers of those who died in the war, so that the profits it desired would be as high as possible. This caused it to establish this number [six million] for world opinion, so that the latter would feel more pangs of conscience and sympathy for Zionism.”
On page 5, Abbas wrote: “It is well known that the motivation of anti-Semitism is persecution and repression, and this is definitely desirable for the Zionist movement. The conclusion from these ideas is that every racist in the world was given the green light, and first and foremost Hitler and the Nazis, to do with the Jews as they wish, as long as it ensures Jewish immigration to Palestine. The Zionist movement did not suffice with just giving a green light – but demanded even more victims, in order to be equal with the victims of other people in the war. This because it believes that raising the number of victims will increase its stock at the end of war, when the spoils are divided. ”
Abbas claimed that Adolph Eichmann was kidnapped by Israel’s Mossad because he threatened to expose the conspiracy in Life magazine, while two others were killed for making the same threats.
Dr. Cohen, a research fellow at the center for international media at Bar-Ilan University whose work focuses on Arab-language Nazi propaganda and collaboration between Arabs and the Nazis, said that Abbas’s theories echoed what Eichmann told the world in his own defense, making Abbas a formal apologist for the Nazi leader.
The core of Abbas’s thesis, that the number of victims must be inflated to win more sympathy, has a parallel today in Hamas’s manipulation of the media in Gaza, by goading Israel into attacking its rocket batteries hidden within an urban population, when Gaza, itself, actually has open space to launch its attacks, that would have entailed few civilian deaths.
Indeed, the issue of “the right of return,” the unending role of the UNRWA in managing more than a billion dollars a year in donated resources and the refusal of other Arab countries to grant his countrymen citizenship also follows Abbas’s thesis, as the 652,000 original Arab refugees at the time of Israeli independence has grown over four generations into some 5 million Palestinians who now demand a state.