November 12, 2008.
Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, speaking in
Ramallah in memory of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, praised “the path of the
shahids -the path we cherish.” He added, “It is aimed at upholding the
Palestinians’ nationalist and sovereign resolutions.”
Israeli and Western governments almost always describe Abbas a as a
“moderate,” particularly when comparing him with leaders of Hamas, which the
same governments have defined as a terrorist organization.
Abbas told thousands at the rally, “The Palestinian leadership will continue to
follow Yasser Arafat’s path until a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
is established.” Arafat carried out or ordered dozens of terrorist attacks before
he died four years ago.
Israeli Arab Knesset Member (United Arab List-Ta’al) Ahmed Tibi also addressed
the rally at Ramallah, saying that “we miss Arafat’s keffiyeh – a symbol for all
revolutionaries, freedom-seekers worldwide.” He expressed the hope that
Arafat will “rise from the grave and lead” Arabs.
Foreign media generally omitted Abbas’s remarks on martyrs, which usually
refers to suicide bombers, and highlighted his comments on the need for PA
unity. The Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, considered to be close to the
PA, told readers, “Abbas said the Palestinians were determined to pursue the
‘peace of the brave that Arafat stood for.’