Illustration by David Smith
Mahmoud Abbas is the man who Britain, America and Europe think deserves to be the president of an independent state of Palestine — the establishment of which, they tell themselves, would end the Middle East impasse.
To Western eyes Abbas, the Fatah-backed President of the Palestinian Authority, is a moderate. It is, however, simply astounding that he should be viewed in this way. It is even more astounding that Western liberals should endorse him and give him a free pass for his behaviour.
Both he and the Palestinian establishment he controls repeatedly say they will never accept Israel as a Jewish state. So his aim remains the destruction of Israel. He and his people repeatedly say that not one Jew would be allowed to live in Palestine. Such a state would therefore be a racist entity ethnically cleansed of Jews.
Abbas has gone even further in making plain that his bigotry is directed not just at Israel. Considering the possibility that Nato forces might be brought in to police a settlement, Abbas declared: "I will not accept the presence of Jews in these forces."