Israel

Palestinian President Abbas Lashes Out Against Jerusalem “Judaization”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has again launched an attack on the “Judaization” of Jerusalem, calling on Islamic countries to wage a “fierce and brutal” campaign against Jewish control of the Jewish state’s capital city:

He also called on these countries to invest in various projects in east Jerusalem and accused Israel of waging a “fierce and brutal” campaign against the city and the Aksa Mosque. “Over the past four-and-a-half decades, the machine of Judaization and elimination of the city’s Arab, Islamic and Christian character has not stopped in accordance with a systematic and programmed policy aimed at isolating Jerusalem from its surroundings,” Abbas said in his speech.

Denying the ancient Jewish connection to Jerusalem, a key marker of Jewish identity, has become a prominent part of anti-Israel statements issued by Palestinian leaders and advisors. It has been criticized not just as willfully ahistorical – Jerusalem has been a Jewish-majority city since at least 1853 – but as endangering the possibility for peace by reinforcing Israeli perceptions of Palestinian irredentism.

Abbas in particular has attacked the “Judaization” of Jerusalem. In August 2012 he insisted that announced that Israeli activity would “not create a [Jewish] right based on fantasy and legends.” He also described the ancient Temple in Jerusalem as an “alleged” Temple, one of at least 97 times Palestinian leaders, media outlets, and institutions used that phrase in 2011 and 2012.

Abbas’s 1982 doctoral thesis “The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 – 1945″ embraced Holocaust revisionism in order to delegitimize Israel, blaming Zionists for intentionally promoting the murder of Europe’s Jews in Nazi death camps. Abbas ignited a storm of controversy last month by repeating the charge on Lebanese television.

Abbas’s recent statements – denying a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, but insisting on one to the Holocaust – are deepening concerns that the Palestinian leader is shifting to the rhetoric and tactics of the pre-Oslo Palestinian Liberation Organization. Abbas is routinely hailed as a key Palestinian pragmatist who is critical to promoting the Israeli-Arab peace process.

[Photo: ThisParticularGreg / Flickr]