Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas espoused more “anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli venom” than any other world leader.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday, Steinitz said that “while Abu Mazen (Abbas) doesn’t fund terrorism, he who was a Holocaust denier in his youth now denies the very existence of the Jewish people and their right to a state.”
He was likely referring to Abbas’s 1982 doctoral dissertation, which was titled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”
“We must not deceive ourselves,” said Steinitz, who is considered a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There is no peace process. There is a diplomatic process… it has some chances, it has significance, but to my great sadness we’re not seeing even the faintest signs that the other side, and the Palestinian leadership, has true intentions of peace.”
He declared that under Abbas’s stewardship the level of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement in the PA had “reached record highs.”
“We’re talking about the subtext of what Palestinian children are [being taught] in Abu Mazen’s (Abbas’s) schools, and also in children’s programming. The subtext is very clear – that Israel must sooner or later be destroyed, that the Jews must sooner or later be destroyed,” he said.
“We need to look reality in the eye,” Steinitz added. “In the entire world there is no leader who incites on his website, on his television channel, against Jews… as Abu Mazen does.”
“After [hard-line Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad exited the political stage, Abu Mazen (Abbas) remained the number one leader in terms of the injection of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli venom,” he said.
Some hawkish Israeli leaders have long pointed to Palestinian incitement, in education and the media, as evidence that Israel has no peace partner.
Steinitz made similarly serious allegations regarding Palestinian state-sponsored incitement earlier this month, when he presented the cabinet with his ministry’s “incitement index” which tracks Palestinian statements against Israel. Netanyahu said at the time that “true peace cannot exist without stopping the incitement against Israel, and educating for peace.”
On Tuesday, Abbas addressed the conference with a taped message, discussing the question of security arrangements in the wake of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and expressing hope that the peace process would see progress before its April 2014 deadline.
“I hope we succeed so we don’t have to resort to legal or diplomatic or political confrontation on the world stage,” Abbas said. “A solution will bring Israel recognition from 57 Muslim countries, a clear, straightforward and diplomatic recognition between these countries and Israel.”
AFP contributed to this report.