Guardian promotes Abbas’s performative terror ‘condemnation’

The Guardian’s coverage of Tuesday’s deadly terror attack in the Israeli city of Bnai Brak, in which a Palestinian gunman killed five – on top of six killed in two previous terror attacks in the past week – included a report by their Mid-East correspondent Martin Chulov and one by their former Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes.

Chulov’s report included this:

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank, issued a rare condemnation of the attacks.

“The killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians will only lead to further deterioration of the situation, while we are all striving for stability,” Abbas said in a statement carried by the Wafa news agency.

Holmes’ report also included Abbas’s quote, using virtually the same wording.

The Independent published an article on the terror attack, by reporter Sravasti Dasgupta, that included this:

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack in a statement and said that the killing of civilians “only leads to further deterioration of the situation and instability, which we all strive to achieve, especially as we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan and Christian and Jewish holidays”.

Another Indy article on the attack, written by Joe Sommerlad, included the same Abbas quote.

The Telegraph published an article on the terror attack, written by their Jerusalem correspondent James Rothwell, as did The Times, which was written by Anshel Pfeffer. But, unlike the Indy and Guardian, these didn’t note Abbas’s ‘condemnation’. What’s concerning about the Guardian and Indy’s inclusion of the Abbas quote is two fold:

First, neither the Guardian nor Indy noted that Abbas’s comments reportedly came less than an hour after Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s office passed along a “stern message” pressuring him to condemn the B’nai Brak attack.  Based on Times of Israel’s reporting, Abbas was likely told by Gantz that Israeli policies easing restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza ahead of Ramadan, which begins in early April, could be jeopardised without a condemnation.  The easing of restrictions include “additional entry permits for elderly Muslim worshipers to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque, expanding the hours of such permits” and “increasing the number of permits for Gazans to work in Israel”.

The fact that Abbas was reportedly pressured into the condemnation is extremely important context.

Second, as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported yesterday, Abbas’s condemnation came after two months of intensified PA promotion of terror and support for terror attacks that occurred – incitement by Abbas and his Fatah party which was unreported by the Guardian, Independent and other media outlets:

PMW writes:

PA Chairman Abbas was the leader of the calls to Palestinians to murder Israelis. For example, at the PLO Central Council meeting in February: “President [Abbas called] in all his speeches to initiate popular resistance.” [Official PA TV, Feb. 8, 2022] PMW has documented that “popular resistance” is the PA call for civilians to carry out terror attacks.

Having promoted terror for 2 months, the PA glorified the first terror attack [in Be’er Sheva] in which 4 Israelis were murdered. After criticism from Israel, the PA was silent about the second attack in which 2 were murdered. And then only when Israel’s defense minister and the United States pressured Abbas he issued a lame condemnation.

Here’s PMW’s graph detailing the PA’s responses to a week of deadly terror:

Further, a day after PA President’s ‘condemnation’, PMW reported that Abbas’s Fatah, via their branches in Jenin (where the B’nai Brake terrorist came from), and Nablus, celebrated the attack and honoured the shooter as “the heroic Martyr”.

As those familiar with PMW’s work already know, such incitement from Abbas, his party and PA government officials is well-documented and occurs constantly.

By copy and pasting Abbas’s comments condemning the B’nai Brak attack, without such vital context concerning how he was forced to issue the (extremely rare) condemnation of terror in the first place, and how the PA consistently promotes such violence, Guardian and Indy readers remain ignorant of the role played by the ‘moderate’ PA President in the spate of deadly attacks targeting Israeli civilians.

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