Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas launched an unprecedentedly scathing attack Monday on US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, calling him a “son of a dog” and a “settler.”
Abbas, addressing the opening of a Palestinian leadership meeting, made the comments hours after Friedman criticized the PA on Twitter for failing to condemn a pair of terror attacks over the weekend.
Mentioning US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to move the country’s embassy in Israel to the city, Abbas said Trump “views the settlements as legitimate.”
“More than one official has said that,” he added. “The ambassador, David Friedman, said they’re building on their own land. You son of a dog, building on their own land?! You are a settler and your family are settlers!”
“Son of a dog” is a pejorative in Arabic, open to multiple interpretations. It is seen by some as analogous to “son of a bitch,” by others as relatively mild, and but by still others as more serious given the reference to an animal.
Responding to the comment while at an anti-Semitism conference in Jerusalem, Friedman quoted the insult, using the term “son of a bitch,” and added “Anti-Semitism or political discourse? I leave this up to you.”
Friedman earlier Monday slammed the PA for not condemning the a spate of deadly attacks that have killed two Israeli soldiers and a civilian in the past four days.
“Tragedy in Israel,” Friedman posted to his Twitter feed. “2 young soldiers, Netanel Kahalani and Ziv Daos, murdered in the north, and father of 4, Adiel Kolman, murdered in Jerusalem, by Palestinian terrorists. Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA! I pray for the families and the wounded – so much sadness.”
Tragedy in Israel. 2 young soldiers, Netanel Kahalani and Ziv Daos, murdered in the North, and father of 4, Adiel Kolman, murdered in Jerusalem, by Palestinian terrorists. Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA! I pray for the families and the wounded – so much sadness.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) March 19, 2018
Friedman is known for making comments aligning himself with the Israeli right-wing, as well as for supporting projects in settlements.
Abbas has made a series of bitter speeches since Trump recognized Jerusalem, and is now boycotting the US administration. In an address in January, Abbas called Israel a “colonial project” unrelated to Judaism, implied that European Jews chose to die in the Holocaust rather than go to pre-state Palestine, and claimed that first prime minister David Ben-Gurion forced Mideast Jews to come to Israel.
The comments came amid roiling Palestinian anger at the US over the Jerusalem decision, with Ramallah rejecting Washington’s role in attempting to broker peace talks.
In his address, Abbas also accused the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers of trying to assassinate his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, last week.
Hamdallah was targeted in a roadside bombing, after entering the coastal territory in a convoy that also included the PA intelligence chief, Majid Faraj.
Abbas condemned the “despicable” attack and said Hamas will be held to account.
He also said he will not accept information from Hamas regarding its investigation of the incident.
Hamas, which has long been at odds with the PA, has denied involvement.
Immediately after the attack Abbas pointed the finger at Hamas.
“This crime was premeditated and its goals and perpetrators are known,” he said during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was part of the convoy.
Palestinian officials said that Abbas cut short his visit to Jordan and returned to Ramallah upon learning about the incident.
Referring to Hamas, Abbas said that the “de facto” government in the Gaza Strip was responsible for the assassination attempt.
The assassination attempt, he added, was in “concordance” with all attempts to stop the PA government from assuming its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.
The explosion, he added, was also aimed at foiling the “reconciliation” agreement that was reached between his ruling Fatah faction and Hamas in Cairo late last year.
Hamdallah and Faraj were on their way to inaugurate a wastewater treatment plant during a visit to Gaza on Tuesday, when a roadside bomb was detonated near their convoy. The two senior officials were not hurt.
This article was updated to elaborate on the definition of “son of a dog.”
Khaled Abu Toameh, Michael Bachner and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.