[Published 18 October 2011]
PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been often criticized for making statements in English that are contradicted by other statements made by him in Arabic. Abbas has continued this art of doublespeak first perfected by his predecessor Yasser Arafat - tailoring his views to the audience that he is addressing.
What is equally as sinister - and indeed should perhaps be regarded with even more alarm - is the apparent attempt by some sections of the media to put Abbas in a favorable light by deliberately mis-translating into English what he says in Arabic.
This is illustrated by considering two differing versions of remarks made by Abbas - when greeting some of the convicted terrorists released in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The Guardian reported Mr Abbas as saying:
“Your efforts have not been in vain,” he told a crowd of thousands, which included 133 of the freed prisoners. “You have sacrificed, fought and paid the price.”
This identical quote was also carried by such media outlets as UTV News and NewsRack
Sky News, however, reported Mr Abbas’s speech in different terms:
“Your sacrifices and your efforts and your work has not been in vain. You have sacrificed and fought,”
This version was also carried by Lebanon News and The Australian Newspaper.
The discrepancy between both reports is glaring.
The omission of “your work” in the Guardian story cannot be described as “nitpicking” or “inconsequential.” Such omission could not have been purely accidental or due to the Guardian’s translator having less of a grasp of Arabic than the Sky News translator.
If Abbas was to be seen in Western eyes as openly and publicly condoning and praising the “work” of these released terrorists - it could well have an adverse affect on Abbas’s image as a peace-seeking diplomat presently touring world capitals to enlist support for the PLO‘s application for recognition of the State of Palestine and its admission as a member of the United Nations.
In the absence of a satisfactory explanation as to why he chose to use these clearly inflammatory words - or to deny he ever used them - member States of the United Nations would be entitled to take a strong view against acceding to his request to join them in the United Nations as head of a fellow peace-loving state.
Mr Abbas has signed and made the following Declaration to the United Nations as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization:
“In connection with the application of the State of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations, I have the honour, in my capacity as the President of the State of Palestine and as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, to solemnly declare that the State of Palestine is a peace-loving nation and that it accepts the obligations contained in the Charter of the United Nations and solemnly undertakes to fulfill them.”
Can Mr Abbas’s peace loving declaration have any meaning when one considers his praise of the “work” these returning terrorists had done and that he told them had not been in vain - and which remarks the Guardian seems to have been so concerned to conceal from its readers?
The“work” performed by these terrorists included:.
1. Amna Muna - a young woman - who had lured a lovestruck Israeli teenage boy by the name of Ophir Nahum to a Palestinian city over the Internet, only to have him killed by waiting terrorists.
2. Ahlam Tamimi another woman now aged 31 - who was sentenced to 16 consecutive life terms in jail for her involvement in the terrorist attack on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001 that claimed the lives of 16 innocent victims, amongst them many Jewish children. Tamimi has never expressed remorse and told reporters in 2006:
“I’m not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”
Accepting her statement at face value - it appears clear that Tamimi intends continuing to resume her “work” in the future
3. Abdel Hadi Ghneim - the surviving perpetrator of the Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 suicide attack that killed 16 civilians after he drove the bus down a ravine.
4. Abd al-Aziz Yussuf Mustafa Salehi - photographed in 2000 displaying his blood-soaked hands to a jubilant Palestinian mob after lynching an Israeli soldier and beating him to death
Praising this kind of “work” can be expected from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh - not from Abbas.
Abbas’s statement is the very antithesis of seeking peace and reconciliation and makes his declaration to the United Nations a mockery.
Article 9 of the PLO Charter still remains Mr Abbas’s real intention - as his praise of the work done by these terrorists makes clear:
"Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it.They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it."
Murdering innocent civilians and lynching a captured Israeli soldier are still seen by Abbas as not only justifiable - but worthy of praise and commendation.
His peace-loving declaration to the United Nations is not worth the paper it is written on.
Neither is the Guardian’s inaccurate report of what he supposedly said.