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Abbas' bizarre use of the empty Palestinian coffers

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

The PA is in such a deep (self-inflicted) financial crisis that it has paid its civil servants only 60% of their salary since February. Yet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas seems to have enough money to pay for the weddings of 90 Palestinian and Syrian grooms who married together under Abbas' auspices. The goal of the PA funding was to show "the entire world that the PLO is the sponsor of our people wherever it is located."

[Sawa, independent Palestinian news agency, July 28, 2019]

"A group wedding of 90 Palestinian and Syrian grooms was held yesterday evening, Thursday [July 25, 2019], in Damascus, the capital of Syria, under the auspices of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.
Director of the PLO Political Department in Syria Anwar Abd Al-Hadi... noted that the [PA] presidential grant was distributed to the grooms in order to help them begin new lives, and added that this also constitutes a message to the entire world that the PLO is the sponsor of our people wherever it is located."

Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 26, 2019

Abbas' feigned current concern for the Palestinians in Syria stands in direct contradiction to his callous response to the offer of Israel's Prime Minister who offered a safe haven for the Palestinians fleeing the Syrian civil war.
 
Soon after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to allow the fleeing Syrian-Palestinians into the PA controlled areas, on condition that, where relevant, those coming waved their refugee status.
 
Instead of immediately accepting the Israeli humanitarian gesture, Abbas rejected the offer, preferring to continue seeing the Palestinian refugee status as a tool of political leverage rather than choosing to save lives.
 
Referring to the Israeli gesture, then [PA] Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said:

"President Abbas requested of the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon that Israel allow the Palestinians from Syria - victims of the violence taking place there - to enter the territories of the occupied State of Palestine.' He added that 'Israel agreed but set an impossible condition - that anyone who enters the territories of the occupied State of Palestine renounce his right of return, which President Mahmoud Abbas absolutely refuses."    

Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 22, 2013

A recent report noted that during the Syrian civil war, approximately 4,000 Palestinian refugees were killed, most by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Despite this reality, now that Assad has won the Syrian civil war the PA is willing to ignore his atrocities and improve relations. It may be that spending this money at his own people's expense is intended by Abbas to send a message of reconciliation to Syria, and is part of an ongoing attempt to build bridges.
 
A high level PLO delegation recently met in Damascus with senior Syrian regime officials. During the meeting, the PLO delegation "emphasized the depth of the Palestinian-Syrian relations, and the constant cooperation between the two leaderships" and added that "Syria stands tall as in the past, and along with the Palestinian people constitutes the spearhead of the defense of the Arab nation and Arab honor, especially considering the fact that Syria is one of the greatest supporters of the Palestinian position and [the Palestinian people's] rights and legitimacy, and opposes all forms of normalization with the occupation..."
 
Ignoring the responsibility of the regime for the deaths of the Palestinians and echoing the often-heard PA libel that Israel is responsible for all the ills of the region, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said:
 

"In the end, we in Syria believe that Israel has a direct role in all the attempts being made in Syria to bring it to its end and to harm its territorial unity and the unity of its people. We say that Israel stands behind all the destruction, killing, and bloodshed on Syrian land, and it is the one that is encouraging the armed terror groups."

Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 24, 2019

The Palestinian support for the Al-Assad Syrian regime is not new. When the US, the UK, and France launched missile strikes on three chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 14, 2018, in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical attacks on civilians in Douma on April 7, 2018, it was Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party that came to the defense of Syria saying:

"The tripartite military attack on the land of the Arab republic of Syria constitutes illegal use of military force, as it took place without a mandate from the [UN] Security Council...
Fatah... stands firmly alongside the brother members of the Syrian people in their time of trouble, and absolutely adheres to maintaining Syria's unity and territorial integrity."

Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 15, 2018

The following are longer exerts of the articles mentioned above:
 
Headline: "[PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] rejected Israel's condition for the entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria"
 
"[PA] Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina announced yesterday [Jan. 21, 2013] that President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the condition set by Israel for the entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria into the territories of the State of Palestine.
Abu Rudeina said to AFP in a conversation from Riyadh [Saudi Arabia] where he is with the president in order to participate in the Arab Economic Summit: 'President Abbas requested of the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon that Israel allow the Palestinians from Syria - victims of the violence taking place there - to enter the territories of the occupied State of Palestine.' He added that 'Israel agreed but set an impossible condition - that anyone who enters the territories of the occupied State of Palestine renounce his right of return, which President Mahmoud Abbas absolutely refuses.'
Abu Rudeina said: 'The issue of the Palestinian refugees and their right of return is one of the issues in a permanent arrangement, and no one can make changes to it, as the international resolutions stipulate their return to their homeland and the homes from which they were expelled, especially [UN] resolution 194, which stipulates the Palestinian refugees' right of return.'"

[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 22, 2013] 

Headline: "A PLO delegation meet with the Syrian deputy foreign minister"
 
"A PLO delegation led by PLO Executive Committee member and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad met yesterday [July 23, 2019] with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in the Syrian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Damascus.
The delegation included PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf, Head of the PLO Refugee Department and PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Abu Houli, Fatah Central Committee member Samir Al-Rifai, Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Damascus Mahmoud Al-Khaledi, and Director of the PLO Political Department Anwar Abd Al-Hadi.
The delegation emphasized the depth of the Palestinian-Syrian relations, and the constant cooperation between the two leaderships, the Syrian and the Palestinian...
During the meeting, the delegation presented the American administration's attempts to eliminate the Palestinian cause on the way to realizing the Zionist dream -'Greater Israel' - which is a practical translation of the so-called deal of the century (i.e., US President Donald Trump's as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan)...
The delegation emphasized that what is taking place in Syria is part of the plot, whose goal is to crown Israel as the power in the Middle East by dismantling a number of Arab states, as [first Israeli Prime Minister David] Ben Gurion dreamed, who would say that Israel's power does not lay in its atomic bomb, but rather in the dismantlement of the three entities around it (Iraq, Syria, and Egypt) [parentheses in source]...
The delegation emphasized that Syria is recovering and that the plot is nearing its end. It added that Syria stands tall as in the past, and along with the Palestinian people constitutes the spearhead of the defense of the Arab nation and Arab honor, especially considering the fact that Syria is one of the greatest supporters of the Palestinian position and [the Palestinian people's] rights and legitimacy, and opposes all forms of normalization with the occupation...
Mekdad... said: 'In the end, we in Syria believe that Israel has a direct role in all the attempts being made in Syria to bring it to its end and to harm its territorial unity and the unity of its people. We say that Israel stands behind all the destruction, killing, and bloodshed on Syrian land, and it is the one that is encouraging the armed terror groups.'"

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 24, 2019]

 
Headline: "The factions condemn the tripartite aggression' against Syria"
 
"The factions yesterday [April 14, 2018] condemned the Western tripartite act of aggression that the US, Britain, and France perpetrated against Syria... The Fatah Movement said in a statement by the Commission of Information, Culture, and Ideology that the tripartite military attack on the land of the Arab republic of Syria constitutes illegal use of military force, as it took place without a mandate from the [UN] Security Council, and therefore is liable to have severe consequences regarding the situation in Syria, the region's security, and its welfare.
The movement also emphasized its strong opposition to any use of chemical weapons, whose use has been internationally banned. It said that there is great doubt regarding the media reports on such use in Douma approximately a week ago, and that they have not been verified. It also said that the military attack will cause a disruption of the investigation begun by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Fatah emphasized that it stands firmly alongside the brother members of the Syrian people in their time of trouble, and absolutely adheres to maintaining Syria's unity and territorial integrity.
Fatah Central Committee member and [Fatah] Commissioner of Mobilization and Organization [in the West Bank] Jamal Muhaisen stated; The fact that the act of aggression took place at a time when the Arab Summit is convening constitutes contempt for the Arab world and its leadership.' Muhaisen emphasized... that the attack on Syria is an attack on Arab honor and on the unified Arab position.
Muhaisen demanded that just as the world claims it is worried about Syria's children, so too it should worry about Palestine's children, stop the Israeli massacres against them, rein in the Israeli occupation, and put an end to its actions against the members of our people."

[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 15, 2018]


Western strikes on Syrian chemical weapons - The US, the UK, and France launched missile strikes on three chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 14, 2018, in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical attacks on civilians in Douma on April 7, 2018. Russia, a key backer of Assad's regime, condemned the Western strikes. The US warned that it is ready to strike again if Assad continues to use chemical weapons.


 

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