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Honesty is not the best policy for the Palestinian Authority

By Missing Peace

Abbas and Arekat caught lying again

Saeb Arekat

Last week Israeli premier Netanyahu declined when The New York Times asked him to write an op-ed for the paper. In a letter to the paper Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s most senior advisor, explained that The New York Times had failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts’.

Dermer also gave examples of the distortions and lies the New York Times had published this year. One of them was a historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an op-ed for NYT in May 2011.

Abbas wrote at the time:

It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.

The truth of course is, that Arab forces attacked the Jews in Palestine as soon as the UN voted in favor of partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.


This week Abbas was caught lying again when he claimed that Hamas had renounced the use of armed resistance against Israel. Speeking to European reporters Abbas said the following about his meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal a month ago:

“We set the agreement’s pillars, and Hamas agreed with us that resistance will be popular and adopt peaceful ways, rather than military resistance,” the Palestinian president said. “The solution is the establishment of a state in the 1967 borders, and Hamas agreed to that, as well as to holding the elections on May 5, 2012.”

Peaceful resistance? Last week when Hamas celebrated its 23th anniversary in Gaza Hamas PM Haniyeh called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to start a war to liberate Jerusalem (Al Quds). He then specified that Jerusalem means East and West and also said the following:

“We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the River [Jordan]. God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine”.

This week Hamas reiterated that it would never give up armed resistance against Israel. Salah al-Bardwil a member of Hamas’ Political Buro said that the issue was never raised in the negotiations between Fatah and Hamas.


The lies of Abbas pale in comparison to those of PA chief negotiator Sa’eb Arekat.

In an op-ed hilariously entitled ‘The moment of truth’ that was published by The Jerusalem Post last week, Arekat asked the Israeli public to support the Palestinian bid for UN admission because, in his words, ”it is a peaceful, positive and collective investment in peace”.       

The facts are that other Fatah leaders called this ‘investment in peace’ the beginning of the end of Israel.

Abbas Zaki explained on Lebanon TV that ‘when we say that the settlement should be based upon these (1967) borders, President [Abbas] understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go.If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end’.

Moment of truth?

Arekat’s  most famous lie is perhaps the one about the ‘IDF massacre’ in Jenin in 2002. He then told CNN that 500 Palestinians were ‘massacred’ by IDF forces. In reality 52 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, and 23 IDF soldiers died in a battle. In his ‘Moment of truth’ article however, he outdoes himself.

Here are just a few examples of the lies in his Jerusalem Post article:

In the first sentence Arekat claims the following: “The two state solution on the 1967 borders has been the official (PLO) position for the past 23 years”.

In fact no reference to the pre-1967 lines was made in either the 1988 PLO statement to the UN, or the 1988 ‘Declaration of Independence’. The Arabic version of the declaration even demanded all the land west of the Jordan and never referred to Israel as a nation.

Peace process

A bit further on  he writes: “Twenty years of peace process have passed without a conclusion to the conflict. In fact, most Palestinians have witnessed their situation go from bad to worse in the past two decades, while Israel enjoys unprecedented economic growth and prosperity”.

The facts are that the conflict could have be concluded in 2000 during the Camp David summit. Instead Arafat launched a preplanned terror war. As a result, the Palestinian economy collapsed.  Current PA president Mahmoud Abbas had another chance to end the conflict in 2008. However, he never responded to Olmert’s final offer to establish a state on 98,5 % of the territories conquered in the 1967 Six Day War.

Arekat knows very well that the real unprecedented economic growth over the last five years took place in the Palestinian Authority. This happened after Israel removed restrictions in the West Bank, and prime minister Salam Fayad started to deal with the widespread corruption in the PA.

In a famous 2009 interview with Jason Diehl in the Washington Post,  Abbas said the following about the situation of the Palestinians in the West Bank: “ In the West Bank we have a good reality……the people are living a normal life”.

Prime example

A prime example of how Arekat gets caught in his own lies is this one: “the settlements, wall and related infrastructure now de facto control almost half of the West Bank”.

A month ago Ha’aretz published an interview with Arekat in which he said that he was in the possession of aerial evidence showing that the settlements have been built on approximately 1,1% of the West Bank.  .That interview was meant to make the case for an Israeli withdrawal behind the pre-1967 lines

In a 2002 New York Times op-ed Arekat wrote that a two state solution was already impossible and claimed that settlements occupied 42% of the West Bank.

Of course the 1,1% figure mentioned in the Ha’aretz article is the right one.

The Truth

The truth is that the PA is trying to hide its real intentions by using doublespeak mainly directed at the European public and by distorting the historical facts.

It is puzzling why The Jerusalem Post decided to publish Arekat’s op-ed. After all since he was repeatedly caught lying by Israeli media, few Israelis believe a single word the man speaks. 

The real intentions of the PA become clear by its unilateral moves, its boycott policy towards Israel and the reconciliation with Hamas.

The latest news in that respect is telling. The PA is now seriously contemplating ending the security cooperation with Israel. In other words it prepares for war.





  1. http://www.israel-palestina.info/wordpress/2011/12/24/reuters-meulenbelt-en-anti-israel-propaganda/
    Reuters, Meulenbelt en anti-Israel propaganda » Israel-Palestina Informatie
    on December 24, 2011 at 2:16 am wrote:

    […] strijders, ook tijdens de Gaza oorlog. De situatie op de Westbank is redelijk; ook Abbas gaf dit in een interview in de Washington Post in 2009 toe. Zelfs in de Gazastrook gaat het lang niet zo slecht als vaak […]