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A tree is known by its fruit

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Aug. 18, 2020. (Photo: Flash90)

The leadership of the Palestinian territories is the greatest threat to the welfare of those living within those territories as well as those living in Israel. Examining the fruit of the Palestinian leadership will tell you what kind of tree it is. 

The founder of the Palestinian movement, Yasser Arafat, consistently made statements that reflected the values of his movement and stance towards Israel. Here are some notable ones:

  1. “We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed… The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations… the goal of this violence is the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in all its political, economic, and military aspects… We don’t want peace, we want victory.” (Link)

  2. “Our goal is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations… We don’t want peace.” This quote was tweeted by the official Palestinian mission to Colombia, reiterating Arafat’s position on the matter. (Link)

Following his sudden death in October 2004, he was succeeded as PLO chairman and PA president by Mahmoud Abbas. Taking on the leadership mantle and following Arafat’s tenure, he continues to champion the Palestinian cause of his predecessor.

Here are some statements made by current Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that reflect his values and stance towards Israel:

1. Holocaust Rationalization and Distorted Views:

- In a speech at the UN in May 2023, Abbas likened Israelis to Nazis, claiming that they “lie like Goebbels.” (Link)

- In 2018, he suggested that the Holocaust was caused by the “social role” of Jews as moneylenders, rather than animosity toward Judaism. (Link).

2. Denying Jewish Ties to the Temple Mount:

- During a speech at UN Headquarters in New York, Abbas denied Jewish historical ties to the Temple Mount. (Link

- “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.” (Link)

3. Questioning Jewish Ancestry:

- Abbas has revived the debunked theory that European Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from ancient Israelites but from 8th-century converts among the Khazars, a nomadic Turkic people. (Link)

Based on these statements, do either of these figures capture your loyalty and reflect the kind of leadership you would want to live under? If so, you are cooperating with evil.

Though Israel’s right to the land is rooted in its history over three millennia prior, modern quibbles over the Balfour declaration and subsequent conflicts also reinforce Israel’s right.

In 1917, at the close of WWI, the British General (Balfour) defeated the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem. The League of Nations meeting in Sanremo, Italy designated mandates for the former Ottoman territories. At that time Jews, Arabs, and others had been living in the land. The British Mandate (Balfour Declaration) granted Israel the territorial land that the Roman government under Hadrian, had designated as Palestine and not referring to a homogenous people group. Hadrian had expelled the Jews from Jerusalem and renamed the territory and surrounding area after an ancient enemy of the Israelites, the Philistines. 

Britain, as the victor over the Ottoman Empire, had the right to make decisions about Ottoman territories and the League of Nations agreed. The current leadership of the Palestinian Authority had this to say regarding the internationally affirmed and designated mandate for Israel:

In a speech at the United Nations, he criticized the Balfour Declaration, asserting that Britain had granted land to another people without proper authority or consent and called for an apology from Britain. Yasser Arafat had previously declared the same, criticizing it as an unjust decision, asserting that Britain had no right or authority to give away the land of Palestine to another people without consent. 

Applying Arafat and Abbas’s own logic to the allegation, every victor of every conquest of Israel had no right or authority to take land away from Israel and to acquire it for another people without the consent of Israel.  Therefore, the land belongs to Israel and always has. 

More concerning are the wartime polls conducted among Palestinians, including those in Gaza, which have shown a rise in support for Hamas. Approximately 90% of respondents expressed an overwhelming rejection of the PA leadership, with the majority calling for Abass’s resignation. This indicates a significant shift in sentiment toward support for an even more violent leadership.

In the West Bank, another survey indicated that support for Hamas has tripled since September. More than 60% of respondents approve of Hamas’ conduct during times of conflict and believe that violence is the most effective means of ending the alleged Israeli occupation. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 53% of Palestinians agree that Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people, compared to only 14% who hold the same view about Fatah, led by the PA under Abbas.

The responsibility for the rise of these numbers lies with the leaders of the movement, both past and present, and the fruits of their labor. In the midst of an orchard of evil, innocent civilians are being terrorized by their leaders. For them, the flag of Israel should be a symbol of self-defense and a shield against the real enemy.

Dr. Bryan Moselle received his PhD in Hebrew Bible from the University of Pretoria, ThM in Hebrew Bible and Semitics from Biola University. He is the senior pastor of University Bible Church in Los Angeles, California, a military chaplain, and previously worked in international disaster relief throughout Africa.

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