Benny Gantz and Mahmoud Abbas
Benny Gantz and Mahmoud AbbasAvshalom Shoshani - Flash 90

On Tuesday, the Israeli government handed Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas $32-million and 9,500 residency permits for Palestinian Arabs in Israel. On Thursday, Abbas responded by urging his followers to wage war against Israel.

In addition to the money and the permits, Israel will give senior PA officials “VIP passes” so they can pass through Israeli security checkpoints without being inspected (despite past experience when Yassir Arafat would smuggle weapons into Gaza in the trunk of his diplomatically protected car), and 1,100 Palestinian Arab businessmen will be given “commercial passes.”

State Department officials hailed these unilateral concessions as “confidence-building measures.” The problem, of course, is that the only confidence they build is the Palestinian Authority’s confidence, not the Israelis', and that Israel will keep making concessions, no matter how the PA responds.

Recall that last August, Israel gave the PA $160-million and 1,200 residency permits. Did that result in peace? Harmony? Coexistence? Even a brief cease-fire? Hardly. It was followed by more shootings, stabbings, and bombings. Expect more of the same as soon as the new $32-million check is cashed.

How do we know that these new concessions won’t finally bring peace? Because Abbas said so—less than 48 hours after the Israeli “gestures” were announced.

The PA chairman declared in a speech that Israel was engaging in “hideous policies of ethnic cleansing and organized terrorism.” He also accused Israel of “the escalation of its repressive practices and persecution against our people, the theft of our land and natural resources, the stifling of our economy, the withholding of our tax funds and racial discrimination.”

Those words are a call to arms. It is a message to the Palestinian Arabs that Israelis are evil monsters and that violence against Israelis is justified and necessary.

While he was at it, Abbas added a few more “Israeli crimes” to his laundry list— “house demolitions, land confiscation, the expulsion of Palestinian from their homes, the uprooting of olive trees, the burning of fields, abuses against prisoners and the continuation of the siege of the Gaza Strip.”

Let’s take a closer look at those last two charges. They may sound like the same old litany of accusations—but they’re actually quite revealing.

Who are the “prisoners” to whom Abbas was referring? He explained in the speech that he was referring to Palestinian Arab “heroes” who are being held in Israeli prisons.

The reason they are in prison is for committing murder. But Abbas doesn’t consider the killing of Jews to constitute murder. He praised the murderers as “the heroes of the popular resistance.” He hailed their “sacrifices and patience.”

Later that day, the PA’s prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, helped clarify what he and Abbas consider murder, and what they consider legitimate “resistance.” Shtayyeh declared that Israel had committed a “hideous crime” by shooting a Palestinian Arab terrorist who was stabbing Israeli civilians at a bus stop. Get it? Stabbing Jews is heroic resistance; shooting the stabber is a crime.

It’s also more than a little edifying to note the occasion of Abbas’s speech. He was commemorating the 57th anniversary of the first terrorist attack carried out by Fatah, the PLO faction of which he is chairman.

Think about that number—57. Fifty-seven years ago, there were no “occupied territories” or “illegal settlers.” Fifty-seven years ago was 1965. Two years before the Six Day War. The terrorist attack that Fatah launched was against pre-1967 Israel. Fatah was not fighting to create a Palestinian Arab state next to Israel; it was openly fighting to destroy Israel.

When Yasir Arafat and his then-number two man, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to the Oslo accords in 1993, they pledged to abandon and reject terrorism. That was the whole premise of the “peace” agreement—the Palestinian Arab leadership supposedly was finally and sincerely foreswearing terrorism.

Thus the recent anniversary of Fatah’s founding should have been commemorated by Abbas with a speech expressing remorse for Fatah’s attempts to destroy Israel and reaffirming that Fatah today rejects the violence of its forefathers.

No chance of that. Instead, Abbas glorifies terrorism. He praises imprisoned terrorists. He celebrates Fatah’s terrorist record. He encourages young Palestinian Arabs to follow in the terrorists’ footsteps, and he demonizes Jews and Israel so that Arabs will want to attack them.

Israel, once again, has made concessions for peace. The Palestinian Arab leadership, once again, has responded by continuing their endless war against the Jewish state.

Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”