On the surface, US President Donald Trump’s relations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been surprisingly warm, but that belies a furious critique leveled by Trump at Abbas in their meeting in Bethlehem last week, an Israeli TV report said.
An angry Trump yelled at Abbas during their talks last Tuesday for his alleged direct involvement in incitement against Israel, Channel 2 reported, citing an unnamed American source.
“You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel],” Trump is said to have shouted at a shocked Abbas.
The TV report said the outburst was followed by several minutes of shocked silence from the Palestinians, and that the meeting was very tense before the two sides managed to get back on track.
Palestinian sources denied the report, saying the meeting was good and to the point.
The Channel 2 TV report gave the alleged quotes in Hebrew. Its reporter, Udi Segal, posted some of the alleged wording in English on Twitter.
Breaking: @realDonaldTrump shouted at Abbas in Bethlehem: You tricked me in DC! The Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement
— Udi Segal (@usegal) May 28, 2017
Speaking alongside Abbas after their meeting in Bethlehem, which came on the second day of Trump’s trip to Israel and the territories, the US president seemed to criticize Palestinian support for terror, but praised Abbas’s commitment to peace, saying the PA president had “committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology.
“I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal,” Trump said. “President Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace.”
Speaking before Trump, Abbas said that the Palestinians’ “fundamental problem is with occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine as we recognize it,” and not with “Judaism.”
On May 3 in Washington, at the first meeting between the two, Trump urged Abbas to stop incitement, crack down on terrorism, and “resolve” his government’s police of paying stipends to terrorists and their families.
Abbas, for his part, told Trump in their joint White House press conference that “that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”
In the wake of that claim, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Abbas for the remark, saying it was “unfortunately not true.” The PA, Netanyahu charged, “names their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and pay terrorists.”
Israel has accused the Palestinians, including Abbas’s Fatah party, of fanning hatred on social media and calling for violence against Israelis.
Palestinian officials have generally countered the claim by arguing that draconian Israeli measures and decades of occupation, not incitement, instill hatred and inspire terrorism.
A report released last month from the Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) group found that PA textbooks for first to fourth grades were demonizing Israel and glorifying “martyrdom.” The document cited an “alarming deterioration” in content since the previous study.
The issue of has taken on increasing significance of late, as members of Congress have threatened to decrease US aid to Palestinians if PA-sponsored incitement is not curbed.
At Trump’s final appearance in Israel, at the Israel Museum on Tuesday afternoon, the president declared that Abbas and the Palestinians “are ready to reach for peace.” Departing from his prepared text, he added: “I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you. That’s what I do. They are ready to reach for peace.”
Netanyahu, at the same event, by contrast, noted that if the previous evening’s Manchester terrorist attack had been carried out by a Palestinian suicide bomber and had killed Israelis, then Abbas, far from condemning it alongside Trump in Bethlehem, would have been making payments to the terrorist’s family. Said Netanyahu: “If the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed.”