I listened to your speech at the United Nations General Assembly, a place reserved for heads of state, and I must say that as your speech continued, my discomfort (to put it mildly) rose.
I’m not going to deal with the roots of the misunderstanding between Israel and the Palestinians that prevent attainment of independence to the Palestinian people and security for the Israeli people.
I’m not going to discuss the issue of where the border lines should be drawn – an issue where our differences are, in my opinion, not so substantial.
Nor am I looking to talk about the future moves of the Palestinian Authority as you presented in your speech at the UN, where you emphasize your efforts to gain UN Security Council recognition for the Palestinian right to independence, a position I cherish, appreciate and have struggled for in my country – Israel – for many years.
This time, Mr. Abbas, all I want to talk about are the infuriating and obscene expressions “genocide” and “war crimes” in your speech.
War crimes, Mr. president, are what happens in Syria, where their president is killing his own people (adults, women and children), using conventional and chemical weapons.
War crimes, Mr. Abbas, is Islamic State butchering Syrian Kurds in Syria and Shi’ite civilians in Iraq. Brutal massacres, the cowardly shooting and beheading of restrained people.
War crimes, Mr. Abbas, are also what happened in Algeria more than a decade ago when Islamist killed in cold blood thousands of people for no good reason.
War crimes, Mr. Abbas, are also what happened in Darfur, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somali.
These are war crimes, Mr. Palestinian President.
Now, genocide, Mr. Abbas, is a monstrous and catastrophic event, far more exceptional.
Genocide, Mr. Abbas, is what the Khmer Rouge committed in Cambodia, using systematic starvation to kill millions of people.
Genocide, Mr. Abbas, is what Stalin committed in Ukraine, causing the deaths of three million Ukrainians.
Genocide, Mr. Abbas, was committed against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire in the past century.
Genocide, Mr. Abbas, was committed in East Timor, Rwanda, Darfur and against the Toto tribe in Burundi.
And the quintessential example of genocide, Mr. Abbas, is what the Nazis and their collaborators did to the Jewish people during WWII. The Holocaust.
Six million people, including more than a million children, were killed in an organized manner just because of their religion. It was a death industry.
Just because of their origin, babies were torn from their mother’s arms and their skulls crushed against the ground. Children and women were shot in the back standing on the edge of a pit dug by themselves. Millions of Jews were exterminated in gas chambers.
Genocide, Mr. Abbas, is what was done to my three cousins, Abraham, Jacob and Mordechai, who were between the ages of six and 12. Who were forced, together with their mother, Sarah, into the gas chambers at Birkenau. Who slowly suffocated. Who tried to scratch their way out through a concrete wall with their little fingernails, and who breathed their last with the question “why” on their innocent faces.
This is genocide, Mr. Abbas.
Some people argue that the use of such obscene terms in your speech stems from ignorance. But I have known you for quite some time, and you are not an ignorant person. I therefore think that your characterization of myself, my children and the people of Israel as “war criminals” guilty of committing “genocide” was a pure, malicious and evil act.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that part of the duty of the president of the Palestinian Authority is to prevent attacks against Israel civilians, and also to prevent the use of Palestinian women and children as human shields by Hamas. It was your duty as Palestinian president to prevent the launching of rockets and mortars from schools and hospitals.
Finally, Mr. Abbas, please note that your inappropriate speech, following your attempts to slander the Israeli people, won’t stop me and many other people in Israel from continuing to search each and every crack to bring peace to the region.
This is our duty as parents, as grandparents, as human beings.The writer served as the senior advisor to Shimon Peres since 1990.