By Arlene Bridges Samuels, CBN Israel—
Decades before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, prompting the widespread use of face masks, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas had twisted together his own version of a mask—one that hid his lifelong motives and remade him into a credible world leader. Abbas controls the PA’s Fatah Movement and political party under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO was led by Yasser Arafat until his death in 2004 when Abbas, an Arafat devotee, took over.
In his earlier days as a key terror accomplice, Mahmoud Abbas went by another name. His followers called him Abu Mazen, a pseudonym. Whether he goes by Abu Mazen or Mahmoud Abbas, his mask somewhat obscures his past, promotes terror against Israelis, and shapes a presidency that harms the Palestinian population.
Hostilities against the only Jewish state and the Jewish community worldwide often focus on the “plight” of the Palestinian people. Israel is slandered, berated, and accused of being an apartheid state—a system of segregation or discrimination based on grounds of race. Yet for years, the truth of Israel’s being a parliamentary democracy and having a diverse population has been lost in a wave of supersensitive emotion emanating from Abbas. In reality, the Palestinians live under the 85-year-old’s dictatorship, which is far grimmer than anything the Israelis could devise.
Abbas, who was elected in 2005 for a four-year term, has since 2009 conveniently delayed new elections. He runs a kleptocracy with multi-billions in international aid donations aimed at helping his Palestinian population. Although some of the money is actually assigned to building civic institutions and aiding other efforts to relieve the growing frustrations of Palestinians on the street, the Abbas-style money management results in benefiting himself and Palestinian terrorists who are considered heroic martyrs.
In fact, one of his most outrageous policies is to reward the families of dead terrorists or terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. In 2017, during the Trump administration, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act with robust bipartisan support. The Act halted most U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority—except for water, childhood vaccinations, and East Jerusalem hospital funds—until the PA stopped paying stipends into its “Martyrs’ Fund.” Until it passed, American taxpayers had essentially been funding Palestinian terror. Israel’s i24 news reported that in 2017, for example, that the total budget for “prisoners’ payments” stood at an astonishing $345 million—half of the international contributions to the PA’s budget.
Informally called the “pay-to-slay” act, the Taylor Force Act grew out of its namesake’s death. The young man, an outstanding West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran, was murdered while on a study trip to Israel with Vanderbilt University. On March 9, 2016, Fox News reported that Force was walking on a boardwalk in Jaffa, when a 22-year-old Palestinian terrorist stabbed him to death. It was part of a hideous spree; the terrorist knifed 10 others in three locations during a 20-minute attack. In July 2018, Israel’s Knesset passed its own measures against pay-to-slay. The Biden Administration’s commitment to the Taylor Force Act is somewhat questionable. In May, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Abbas in Ramallah, he announced an overall package of more than $360 million for the Palestinian people.
A glaring example of Abbas’s excesses is the building of his $13-million palace that broke ground in 2015. The oversized palace located near Ramallah—the seat of his government in Samaria, which is part of Israel’s biblical heartland—boasts two helipads. His administration is riddled with corruption; foreign aid footed the bill for the palace and many other luxuries that Abbas believes he’s entitled to. Continue Reading….