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Talking Turkey, With Mahmoud Abbas

This holiday season, let us give thanks to ‘the angel of peace’

by
Liel Leibovitz
November 25, 2015
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Mahmoud Abbas, moments before the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 30, 2015. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Mahmoud Abbas, moments before the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 30, 2015. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and everywhere we’re blessed with bounty and goodwill towards all. Is there a better time, then, to hear from The Angel of Peace, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas? None better: So pass the yams, and let us relish the tidings of the moderate man from Ramallah:

“The continuation of the Israeli occupation and its persistence with colonial settlement activities, cruel arrests and detention of civilians, extrajudicial killings of our youth and children, the blockade of Gaza, home demolitions, repeated brutal attacks by Israeli terrorists settlers against our people and their property, and provocations and incitement against their holy place, including the Holy Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Occupied East Jerusalem, affirm Israel’s arrogance and intransigence, its violations of international law, its rejection of peace and its adherence instead to the ideology of colonial expansion, subjugation, and greed.” (Abbas, regal, in an official statement to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 23, 2015)

“Israel is violating all international treaties that provide protection for children. Israel has become professional in distorting the facts to divert attention from its crimes by accusing victims of its crimes that they were carrying knives or by planting a knife next to their bodies.” (Official Palestinian Authority statement, November 22, 2015)

“We will not give up to the logic of brute force, policies of occupation and aggression practiced by the Israeli government and the herd of settlers who are engaged in terrorism against our people, our holy places, our homes, our trees and the execution of our children in cold blood as they did with the child Ahmed Manasrah and other children from Jerusalem.” (Abbas, defiant, speaking on Palestinian TV; Ahmed Mansarah was safely arrested after trying to stab Israelis in the streets of Jerusalem, and was taken to the same hospital as his victims where he received excellent medical care).

“Al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. [Israelis] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” (Abbas, pensive, speaking in a meeting with Palestinian activists in his office in Ramallah, September 16, 2015).

“We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.” (Abbas, poetic, in an address on Palestinian TV, September 16, 2015).

Israelis and Palestinians alike–not to mention the rest of us–have much to be thankful for…

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.

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