On February 28, the Jordanian daily al-Dustur released an interview with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. It included the following:
“At this present juncture, I am opposed to the armed struggle because we can’t succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different.
“I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world, what it’s like, when it is effective and when it isn’t effective, its uses and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is.
“It is common knowledge when and how resistance is detrimental and when it is well timed. We [Fatah] had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hezbollah, who trained in our military camps.”
Additionally, Mr. Abbas declared:
“We rejected this proposal [that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state] at the Annapolis conference last November in the U.S., and the conference was almost aborted because of it….
“I don’t demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. I only demanded of the [Palestinian] national unity government that would work opposite Israel in recognition of it. And this I told to Syrian President Bashir Assad, and he supported this idea.”
On Saturday, Mr. Abbas referred to Israel operations in Gaza in response to launching of rockets on Israeli civilians as “worse than the Holocaust.” Just five days earlier, he had admonished Israel to “stop escalating the situation in the Palestinian territories and stop all attacks in the Gaza Strip, including firing missiles there.” This was without mention of Hamas’ escalation of attacks.
At the same time, the official Palestinian news agency described Palestinians killed by Israeli forces as “civilians,” when even other Palestinian sources admit they were gunmen.