Mahmoud Abbas speaking before the UN Security Council (Mahmoud Abbas’s Facebook page, February 11, 2020)
UN Security Council session.
Rally in support of Mahmoud Abbas in central Ramallah.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaking at the support rally (Wafa News Agency, February 11, 2020)
Mahmoud Abbas receiving the mother of terrorist Karim Younes in his Ramallah office. Younes is serving a life sentence in Israel for brutally abducting and murdering an Israeli soldier (Avraham Bromberg) (Al-Hayat Press, November 18, 2018).
Mahmoud Abbas meeting with the mother of terrorist Karim Younes (Wafa News Agency, Mahmoud Abbas’s YouTube Channel, November 18, 2018)
- An examination of fundamental issues raised in Mahmoud Abbas’s address clearly proves that there is a large gap between Mahmoud Abbas’s softened rhetoric voiced in the address and the reality:
- The essence of the “just peace” with Israel: in his address, Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the Palestinians’ commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, but without giving up the right of return of the Palestinian refugees (which would mean the elimination of the State of Israel in its present nature); and without agreeing to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People (the Palestinian Authority has refused to do so in previous negotiations with Israel). The uncompromising demand for the “right of return” and the refusal to recognize the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People were further emphasized by high-ranking speakers from the PA and Fatah. It happened during a demonstration held in Ramallah in support of Mahmoud Abbas, around the time of his address at the Security Council (see below).
- The struggle against violence and terrorism: Mahmoud Abbas stressed that the Palestinians were committed to the struggle against violence and terrorism, stating that they would never turn to violence and terrorism and would fight through the “popular resistance by peaceful means.” The PA does not support the military terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas and the PIJ, and its security services cooperate with Israel in the area of counterterrorism. However, at the same time, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah encourage the violence and terrorism carried out as part of the “popular terrorism.” The Palestinian Authority and Fatah present the “popular resistance” as carried out by peaceful means. In reality, popular terrorism includes, among other things, stabbing attacks, ramming attacks, systematic throwing of stones (or rocks), and throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on roads in Judea and Samaria. Sometimes it also includes shooting attacks and planting IEDs. The perpetrators of popular terrorist attacks are honored by the PA (and by Mahmoud Abbas personally), and the PA provides financial support to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to the families of shaheeds.
- Educating the Palestinian younger generation: Mahmoud Abbas said that “we [i.e., the Palestinians] have worked to disseminate education and peace among our people …” In practice, the PA encourages a culture of hatred for Israel and a culture of struggle against it. Systematic studies of PA textbooks conducted over the years (see Appendix) show that these textbooks disseminate the de-legitimization of Israel and a refusal to recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish People. Israel and major Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv do not appear in the maps in these textbooks. The textbooks call for a violent struggle against Israel and do not include education for peace and normalization with the State of Israel. Instilling hatred of Israel and encouraging terrorism and violence are also reflected in the informal education and Palestinian media affiliated with the PA and Fatah. They cultivate a culture of admiration of the shaheeds in the public sphere, turning them into role models for the Palestinian younger generation.
- Around the time of Mahmoud Abbas’s address at the Security Council, a support rally was held in Ramallah, with the participation of thousands of people (some of whom arrived on buses organized by the PA and Fatah). Contrary to Mahmoud Abbas’s softened address before the Security Council, the rhetoric at the rally was inflammatory, emphasizing Palestinian basic demands that constitute an obstacle to any peace agreement. Speaking at the rally, Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul said that the Palestinians were demanding their “full rights” and that no Palestinian would be able to accept the Trump plan. This is because the Trump plan recognizes the State of Israel as a Jewish state, and waives Jerusalem and the “right of return” and dozens of other conditions presented by the Palestinians. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that all the Palestinians say yes to a state whose capital is Jerusalem, and yes to the “right of return.” According to him, just as the Palestinians caused Camp David to fail, the Deal of the Century will also fail (Palestinian TV, February 11, 2020). Mohammad Shtayyeh expressed a commitment to the shaheeds and prisoners, while the crowd reiterated Arafat’s battle cry: “Millions of martyrs are marching towards Jerusalem.”
Rhetoric versus reality on the ground: examples from Mahmoud Abbas’s address before the UN Security Council
The “just peace” between the Palestinians and Israel
- From the PA’s perspective, the political solution includes the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, whose capital is East Jerusalem. However, from the Palestinians’ perspective, even if all their territorial demands are met, and this is definitely not on the agenda, the Palestinian refugees’ so-called “right of return” still remains an obstacle to any possible agreement leading to the end of the conflict. The meaning of this so-called right, from the Palestinians’ perspective, is the mass return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the territory of the State of Israel, changing its character and identity as a Jewish state.
- In his address, Mahmoud Abbas noted that Yasser Arafat had declared that they recognized Israel in the Oslo Accords, but refrained from pointing out that this recognition by the PA does not include recognition of the existence of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People. At the Annapolis Conference (2007) and in the period that followed, Israel demanded that the PA recognize it as a Jewish nation state, before a two-state solution was discussed. Palestinian speakers, including Mahmoud Abbas, expressed strong opposition to recognition of the Jewish character of the State of Israel, calling the Israeli demand unacceptable.
The Palestinians are committed to the struggle against terrorism
- A basic condition for any Israeli-Palestinian agreement is the absolute cessation of violence and terrorism against Israel. However, since its establishment, the PA has proved, time and time again, that it does not want to combat terrorism effectively and it is doubtful whether it is capable of doing so. The Oslo Accords have lost their relevance, not because of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, as Mahmoud Abbas claimed in his address before the Security Council, but because of the Palestinian wave of terror led by Hamas. Hamas’s terrorism subsequently became a terrorist campaign against Israel, which Fatah joined during the Second Intifada (2000-2005).
- Although the intifada ended (2005), the Gaza Strip, from which the IDF had withdrawn, became a hub for terrorism against the Israeli population carried out by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations (mainly rocket fire at Israeli population centers). In today’s reality, the PA has no will to disarm Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and it is highly doubtful whether it is capable of doing so. That being the case, Mahmoud Abbas’s statement that the Palestinians would never wage their struggle against Israel through violence and terrorism is not borne out on the ground.
- In Judea and Samaria, the PA is opposed to the established “military” terrorism, which is largely orchestrated by Hamas and PIJ squads. This opposition does not stem from a moral rejection of the use of violence and terrorism, but rather from the fact that Hamas and other organizations are also endangering the PA and posing a threat to stability in Judea and Samaria. For this reason, the Palestinian security services cooperate with the Israeli security forces, serving the interests of both sides. From the perspective of the PA, the alternative to established “military” terrorism is “popular resistance,” which is not carried out by peaceful means, as Mahmoud Abbas claimed before the Security Council. “Popular resistance” is the name used for popular terrorism used by the Palestinians. This pattern of terrorism became part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the Palestinian Authority and Fatah adopted the popular resistance strategy (2009). Within this strategy, hundreds of terrorist attacks have been carried out, killing about 130 people.
- This strategy of popular terrorism makes use of violence and terrorism as a means of promoting the PA’s goals in the conflict with Israel. The PA and Fatah support popular terrorism and adopted it as their preferred strategy at Fatah’s Sixth General Conference (August 2009). Fatah’s Seventh General Conference, which was held in Ramallah (November 29 – December 4, 2016), established and further reinforced the “popular resistance” strategy. Contrary to the seemingly innocent appearance of the term “popular resistance,” it is not a quiet protest carried out by peaceful means, as the PA and Mahmoud Abbas present it. The “popular resistance” involves the use of violence and deadly means of terrorism, including throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at vehicles (civilian and military), carrying out stabbing and ramming attacks, and sometimes also shooting attacks and planting IEDs.
- The perpetrators of violence and terrorist attacks, including the deadly ones, receive direct and indirect support from Fatah and the PA. This support is provided in a number of ways:
- Financial aid: prisoners and families of shaheeds receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year in financial aid from the PA. This aid encourages the perpetrators of the attacks and is actually an incentive to carry out attacks. Despite the heavy pressure exerted by Israel, senior PA officials, including Mahmoud Abbas, have reiterated that even if the PA finds itself in an economic crisis, they will not stop providing this support. The PA and Fatah also help rebuild the homes of terrorists that were demolished by Israel due to their involvement in terrorism.
Items 46 and 47 of the 2018 budget (marked by arrows) including the sums of money allocated to the two institutions dealing with terrorists, prisoners, released terrorists, and the families of shaheeds. Bottom left: (markings added by the ITIC). Top left: Mahmoud Abbas’s signature. Left: Date of approval of the budget: March 4, 2017
- Political and media support: The PA supports the “popular resistance” and refrains from condemning the attacks against Israel and their perpetrators (including attacks resulting in the deaths of Israeli civilians and sometimes also attacks that do not fall under the category of “popular resistance”). The Palestinian media, including the media affiliated with the PA, praises the attacks and their perpetrators. Glorification of terrorists creates an atmosphere in the PA that supports violence and terrorism. Fatah’s media outlets, with an emphasis on social media, have often encouraged the perpetration of popular terrorist attacks.
Right: Sultan Abu al-Einein, member of Fatah’s Central Committee who also serves as Mahmoud Abbas’s advisor on NGO affairs, was interviewed on the Iranian Al-Alam News Network on October 2, 2015, when a wave of popular terrorism broke out, saying: “The attack in Itamar [in which Naama and Eitam Henkin were killed] is a natural response to the crimes of the occupation” (YouTube, October 2, 2015). Left: Post on Sultan Abu al-Einein’s official Facebook page praising and glorifying terrorists who carried out attacks against Israel, including Muhannad Halabi, who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem, killing two Israelis (Sultan Abu al-Einein’s Facebook page, October 4, 2015).
- Participation of senior PA officials in funerals, memorial ceremonies and condolence calls: Senior officials from the PA, Fatah and the Palestinian security services often attend funerals of terrorists killed carrying out popular terrorism attacks (the terrorists are sometimes given funerals by the security services, with military trappings). Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officials often meet with terrorists who have been released from prison and with families of incarcerated terrorists.
Right: Mahmoud Abbas meeting with Fatah operative Rajai Haddad, who carried out a deadly stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, upon his release from Israeli prison at a ceremony held in Abbas’s office in Ramallah (Wafa News Agency, March 14, 2018). Left: Post on Mahmoud Abbas’s Facebook page with a photo of the ceremony with the released terrorist. In the post, Haddad is quoted as saying that as soon as he was released from Israeli prison, he went to meet with Mahmoud Abbas to convey the regards of the Palestinian prisoners from Jerusalem and their support for Mahmoud Abbas’s policies (Mahmoud Abbas’s official Facebook page, March 14, 2018).
- Shaheed cult: The PA and Fatah foster a cult of shaheeds, members of all organizations, who were killed in decades of Palestinian terrorism. In Palestinian society, including, among the younger generation, these shaheeds are admired and become role models. The shaheed cult is also reflected in the Palestinian education system. The PA turns terrorists who carried out multi-casualty attacks into role models for youth. One prominent example of this is Dalal Al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre and became a role model for Palestinian youth.
Teaching the younger generation to glorify shaheeds: Dalal Al-Mughrabi (middle) is shown in the front row of the Palestinian prominent leadership, next to Yasser Arafat (right) and Ahmad Shuqeiri (left) (Teacher’s Guide, Geography and Contemporary Modern History of Palestine, 10th grade, 2018).
Mahmoud Abbas’s statements said in his address before the Security Council: “We have worked to disseminate peace education among our people, among the entire Palestinian people. We tell them peace, we do not want war, we do not want violence, we do not want terrorism.”
- Although the PA has pledged to educate against violence and terrorism, it has not made a genuine attempt to make a change in the hearts and minds of the younger generation. The claim made by Israel on this issue at the time in the Road Map for Peace was not addressed in practice. The Palestinian education system continues to instill a “culture of hatred” and a “culture of struggle” against Israel in the Palestinian younger generation: The Palestinian media, including media outlets controlled by PA and Fatah, are also committed to the hate campaign against Israel and the encouragement of terrorism, all of which constitute the infrastructure for violence and terrorism directed at Israel.
- The systematic studies of the Palestinian textbooks and teacher’s guides that have been carried out for many years have shown that their salient elements are de-legitimization of the State of Israel, demonization of Israel and the Jews, a call for violent struggle and liberation of Palestine, and failure to strive for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Studies of PA textbooks carried out by various researchers have revealed that they are fraught with anti-Israel messages. Most of the references to Israel in textbooks are in negative contexts: Jewish presence in Israel is described as a type of colonialism; The State of Israel does not appear in maps in the textbooks (“Palestine” appears instead of Israel) and is referred to, inter alia, as “the Zionist entity,” “the Zionist gangs” and “an exploitative country.”
A song entitled “The Land of the Noble” learned by third graders (from a textbook called Our Beautiful Language, 3rd Grade, Part 2, 2017): “I will sacrifice my blood to quench the ***Land of the Noble and remove the robber (i.e., Israel), and destroy the defeated remains of the foreigners [i.e., Israel].” The teacher’s guide for this class notes that this song has a melody and students are required to sing it in class.
Idealization of the Palestinian state
- The Trump plan (Section 17, page 34) sets criteria for the character of the Palestinian state to be established:
- In his address, Mahmoud Abbas, in the ITIC’s assessment as an indirect response to the Trump plan, idealizes a Palestinian state that is far removed from reality, because since its establishment the PA has been a corrupt, undemocratic entity in which the rule of law and freedom of expression do not exist. The situation is even worse in the Gaza Strip, with its oppressive rule of the Hamas movement over a civilian population of about two million.
- A large part of the population of Judea and Samaria perceives the PA as corrupt and undemocratic. A survey conducted by Khalil Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) on February 11, 2020, revealed that only 42% of the respondents in Judea and Samaria said they could criticize the PA without fear. 54% said that they could not criticize. 85% of the respondents said that there was corruption in the PA institutions. 47% see the PA as a burden on the Palestinian people while 46% see it as an asset for the Palestinian people. When asked what is the most serious problem facing Palestinian society today, 29% answered that continued [Israeli] occupation and settlement activity [by Israel], 28% answered poverty and unemployment, 25% answered the spread of corruption in public institutions (PCPSR website, February 11, 2020).
- Following is a selection of publications by the ITIC on four core issues related to the PA, which were examined in this document (all the publications in Hebrew and English are available on the ITIC website):
- The concept of “popular resistance” (popular terrorism)
- Encouraging popular terrorism by the PA and Fatah
- Fostering the shaheed culture
- Fostering the struggle against Israel and the lack of peace education in the Palestinian education system
Basic publications on the adoption of popular terrorism by the PA and Fatah
- “The Palestinian Popular Resistance and its Built-In Violence” (June 9, 2013)
- “The 7th Fatah Movement Conference Again Legitimizes Popular Terrorism (The So-Called “Peaceful Popular Resistance”)” (December 12, 2016)
- “The PLO’s Central Council and Mahmoud Abbas call for the continuation and strengthening of [so-called] “peaceful popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism]” (January 17, 2018)
Encouraging popular terrorism with the assistance of the PA and Fatah
- “Third vehicular attack carried out in Jerusalem in May, and as before, it received support from Fatah and the Palestinian media; the Palestinian Authority did not condemn it” (May 21, 2015).
- “How the Palestinian Authority and Fatah Respond to Vehicular Attacks” (June 8, 2015)
- “Palestinian Bar Association Supports Current Wave of Terrorism: Palestinian Bar Association shows solidarity with two terrorists who stabbed four Israelis to death in Jerusalem” (October 13, 2015)
- “Anti-Israel Incitement in the Palestinian Authority: An analysis of its roots and aspects” (June 5, 2017)
- “During diplomatic contacts with the Americans, the Palestinian Authority rejected demands to stop financial support for terrorist prisoners and the families of shaheeds” (June 26, 2017)
- “The anniversary of Fatah’s founding was marked at universities and colleges in Judea and Samaria by glorifying shaheeds and encouraging terrorism” (January 10, 2018)
- “The Fatah movement in Jenin rented a house for the family of Ahmed Nasr Jarar, one of the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevah, to replace the house destroyed by the IDF” (March 1, 2018)
- “Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah figures held a reception for a Fatah terrorist operative released after serving 20 years in prison for killing an Israeli on Hagai Street in the Old City of Jerusalem” (March 22, 2018)
- Terror funding by the Palestinian Authority: Mahmoud Abbas recently approved the budget for 2018, about 7% of which is devoted to assisting prisoners, released terrorists, and families of shaheeds” (March 29, 2018)
- “Legitimizing Terrorism: Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Fatah and Palestinian Authority figures honor terrorists involved in killing Israelis” (November 22, 2018)
- “The Palestinian Authority Continues to Encourage Terrorism: A mourning tent opened in the Palestinian embassy in Saudi Arabia for a terrorist who murdered two Israelis in the Barkan industrial zone” (December 23, 2018)
- “The struggle for destroying the houses of terrorists’ families: the Palestinian Authority and Fatah help rebuild houses destroyed by Israel, thereby challenging the Israeli deterrent message.” (December 30, 2018)
- “The Palestinian Authority employs a policy of rebuilding the houses of terrorists demolished by Israel: the case of Islam Abu Hamid” (October 31, 2019)
- “Fatah and Palestinian Authority glorify and support terrorists: The case of Omar Abu Layla, who murdered two Israelis near Ariel” (July 4, 2019)
Glorification of shaheeds by the PA and Fatah
- “Turning Shaheeds into Role Models: Fatah unofficially inaugurated the Dalal al-Magribi Square in Al-Bireh, named after a Fatah terrorist who participated in the mass-murder attack on Israel’s Coastal Road (1978)” (March 21, 2010)
- “Glorifying shaheeds who carried out deadly terrorist attacks and turning them into role models: Dalal al-Mughrabi, a Fatah terrorist who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, as a case study” (March 23, 2017)
- “The Palestinian shaheed culture and its influence on terrorism: a stabbing attack in the central bus station in Jerusalem as a case study” (January 1, 2018)
- “The Culture of Palestinian Shaheeds: On the anniversary of Fatah’s founding, the movement’s official Facebook page commemorated five female Fatah terrorists involved in deadly suicide bombing and “self-sacrifice” attacks” (January 4, 2018)
- “Glorification of a shaheed who recently perpetrated a stabbing attack, at an annual ceremony of appreciation for high school and university graduates in the village of Al-Eizariya, east of Jerusalem” (September 18, 2019)
Fostering the struggle against Israel and the lack of peace education in the Palestinian education system
- “An examination of Palestinian fifth and tenth-grade textbooks for the 2004-2005 school year shows a continuing denial of the State of Israel’s right to exist and a continuing cultivation of the values of armed struggle against Israel” by Noa Meridor (March 7, 2006)
- “About the Report of the Mideast Freedom Forum Study of Palestinian Authority Textbooks” by Brigadier General (Ret.) Amos Gilboa), April 20, 2016)
- “Palestinian Authority textbooks: the attitude to Jews, Israel and peace” by Dr. Arnon Groiss and Dr. Ronni Shaked (December 26, 2017)
- “Palestinian Authority textbooks: the attitude to Jews, Israel and peace (update, June 2018)” by Dr. Arnon Groiss (July 22, 2018)
- “Jews, Israel and Peace in the 2017/18 Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks for Grades 11 and 12: A Complementary Study” by Dr. Arnon Groiss (October 11, 2018)
- “Jews, Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Teachers’ Guides Published by the Palestinian Authority’s Education Ministry” by Dr. Arnon Groiss (December 2019)
 As part of the diplomatic campaign against the Trump plan, the Palestinians requested an emergency session of the UN Security Council. Their intention was to request a resolution on the issue. Shortly before the date of the meeting, it became evident that several countries would vote against the resolution and some would abstain, so the proposed resolution would not be adopted (since this would necessitate a majority of nine countries out of 15). In view of this, Mahmoud Abbas had to make do with the address before the Security Council. ↑
 See the ITIC’s Information Bulletin from April 28, 2009: “Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reiterates the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people”; and from April 20, 2009: “Basic disagreement concerning the two-state solution: the Palestinian refusal to recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people has resurfaced, as it did at the Annapolis meeting” ↑
 For details about the allowances and benefits received by terrorists and their families from the PA in Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser’s study: “Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2017. ↑