Tag Archives: Mahmoud Abbas

'We should have sent someone' to Paris rally

Think long and hard about this one.

When was the last time the White House admitted openly that it made a mistake. My best recollection goes back to, oh, around 1987 when President Reagan said as much about selling arms to rebel fighters in Nicaragua.

Still, the White House press spokesman, Josh Earnest, made a startling announcement today in declaring that the Obama administration erred in not sending a higher profile emissary to join the massive Paris “unity rally” in the wake of the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.


Secretary of State John Kerry said today as well that the U.S.-France relationship goes far beyond a single event, such as the Paris rally. President Obama has noted that France is our “oldest ally,” dating back to the American Revolution.

But yes, the White House made a mistake. I’m glad the administration is acknowledging it.

The current war on international terror began on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists conducted the cold-blooded, premeditated attack on the United States. We issued a call to arms and enlisted the aid of nations around the world.

The United States has been the main player in the world’s fight against the monsters who seek to terrorize the rest of the world.

There should have been a high-profile U.S. delegation at the unity rally, which featured the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

That does not diminish our leading role in the global war. Indeed, today’s White House admission well might enhance it.


Israel vents its anger at Hamas

Can there be any doubt — any at all — as to why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke off peace talks with the Palestinian Authority?

Three Israeli teenagers have been killed by terrorists linked to Hamas, the monstrous group that helps govern Gaza, which is part of the Palestinian Authority. Israel in return has launched air strikes against the terrorists. Hamas is continuing its violent campaign against Israel, all the while joining the PA in some form of “unity government” arrangement agreed to by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

It was that unity government arrangement that angered Netanyahu enough to break off the talks. The PA cannot “have it both ways,” he said of Abbas’s agreement with Hamas and his desire to seek peace with Israel.


I cannot proclaim to be an expert on this subject, but I have had the honor of seeing Israel up close. I’ve seen some of the damage that Hamas terrorists have inflicted on Israeli cities close to Gaza. I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for how close Israel is to its sworn enemies and I understand fully how Israel must be on constant vigil against terrorist attacks from Gaza, the West Bank, Golan and Lebanon.

Five weeks touring Israel in the spring of 2009 gave my traveling companions and me a deeper appreciation for what the Israelis face every single day.

And now we have this latest tragedy involving the three teens who were captured in the West Bank.

Hamas comprises a lot of very bad actors. Those are the individuals with whom Israel must co-exist. If they have to bomb them to keep them at bay, then so be it.

Pope emerges as peace broker?

Can there be any doubt that Pope Francis I is the rock star everyone believes him to be?

The pope, in a stunning gesture to two sides in one of the world’s most contentious regions, invited them to the Vatican later this year in what has been called a “common prayer for peace.”

Who knows? A real deal that forges a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority could be next.


“All of us … are obliged to make ourselves instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers,” the pope said after a public Mass in Bethlehem.

The pope is touring Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on a whirlwind tour of the Holy Land. He just might get more out of this trip than anyone in the world ever imagined.

At issue are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that broke down when PA President Mahmoud Abbas brokered a unity government deal with Hamas, the reviled terrorist organization that vows to destroy Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended the talks, declaring that Abbas cannot seek peace while sidling next to such a notorious terrorist organization.

Now comes the Holy Father. He wants to bring both sides together for a meeting in the Vatican. Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres have been invited.

“The time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable,” the pope told Abbas, adding that he was “expressing my closeness to those who suffer most from this conflict.” And who might that be? Some observers believe he is referring to the Palestinians.

If ever there was a time to pray for a solution that has evaded presidents, kings, sultans, imams, rabbis and just about anyone else with a semblance of moral authority in the world, this could be it.

Let’s hope Pope Francis I can deliver some pastoral guidance that helps end a centuries-old conflict.

Can His Holiness work a miracle in Holy Land?

Pope Francis’s tour of Israel and Jordan is getting some hearts fluttering.

It’s not just that the head of the Catholic Church is making his first trip to the Holy Land. It is that this man who’s been dubbed a “rock star” on the world stage might be able to move Israelis and Arabs closer to a peace deal.


The Holy Father will deliver a Mass in Bethlehem on the West Bank. Just a hunch, but he’ll pack the place with worshipers. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, delivered a Mass in Nazareth in 2009. I had the pleasure of touring the amphitheater built for that event. He drew an overflow crowd in a city that is now 80 percent Muslim. Yes, they came from all over Israel to hear it, but I think you get my point, which is that the pope represents something quite special to folks of all faiths.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have broken down. PA President Mahmoud Abbas struck a deal that gave Hamas — a notorious terrorist organization — a role in governing the Palestinian Authority, which Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu said correctly was a non-starter for Israel.

Hope is emerging that Francis might be able in private talks to persuade the two sides to resume talks. Indeed, there must be a path to peace and it well might take someone with Francis’s global stature to help the two sides find their way toward that path.

He’ll be there only for a brief time but, hey, miracles can occur in an instant.

Abbas finally sees light on Holocaust

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said what most of the rest of the world already knows: The Holocaust committed against Jews in Europe was a dastardly act by the 20th century’s most despicable tyrant.

Now we’re getting somewhere.


Abbas made the statement the other day after spending a lifetime denying the Holocaust even occurred.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who’s angry with Abbas for agreeing to a “unity government” that includes the infamous Hamas terror organization, isn’t so sure Abbas’s statement is a sincere belief on his part. He thinks Abbas is trying to make nice because of the agreement with Hamas.

Whatever his motive, Abbas is right to acknowledge what he calls the “most heinous crime of modern history.”

It would be worth the Palestinian president’s time to tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, near Jerusalem. There he will see exhibits depicting in graphic detail what Adolf Hitler and his Nazi murderers did to an estimated 6 million European Jews before and during World War II. He will see evidence of the death camps, the testimonies of survivors, the videos of the corpses discovered by Allied troops who liberated Europe from the Nazis.

Abbas’s statement runs counter to what many Arab leaders have said about the Holocaust. They have denied it or have downplayed its significance to those who fled to Israel after World War II.

He now ought to sit down with other Arab leaders and persuade them of what he has come to understand about the Holocaust.