Nov 29, 2021

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The durability of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition government relies on the ability of opposing parties to remain together. This was sorely tested in the wake of yesterday’s deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. 

Calls for Arab party to condemn the terrorist attack

The Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that Mansour Abbas, the head of the Ra’am party, condemn the attack in which one Israeli was killed and three wounded by a Palestinian terrorist. The Likud demanded a condemnation “without reservations and without excuses.”

Ra’am responded, publishing a response to the attack in Hebrew but refraining from publishing any response in the Arab-language media:

“For decades, Ra’am has opposed and condemned and acted to prevent harm to innocent people on both sides and will continue to do so especially when it comes to innocent civilians. Ra’am has always called for the sanctity of life, and to avoid any kind of violence, and to strive to live together in peace, security, partnership, and tolerance, as set out in RAAM’s vision.

“The Likud can not preach morality to Ra’am and MK Mansour Abbas, period,” the party added. “The Likud led the government for many years, and failed to achieve peace and security and internal stability, so its time ended and it was replaced. The Likud must come to terms with the fact that today there is another government, and it is a functioning government.”

Conflicting loyalties

Ra’am’s position in the government is precarious due to what many see as conflicting loyalties. A  Channel 13  report last month alleged connections between a charity headed by a Ra’am MK and Hamas in Gaza. Abbas has also made it clear that he will not acknowledge a Jewish connection to the holy sites in Israel or a Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount.

Condemning terrorism has been problematic for the Ra’am party in the past. After a terror attack at Tapuah Junction in May, Abbas stated that he “opposed any harm to innocents”. Fellow Ra’am MK Walid Taha released a statement in opposition, saying, “We stand completely behind our people the Palestinians and condemn all the actions of the occupation and the settlers against our people.”

The Palestinian Authority is even more reluctant to condemn terrorism. Wafa, the official PA news service, reported the terrorist attack under the headline, “Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Forces in Old City of Al-Quds”. 

“A Palestinian man was shot and killed in the Old City of al-Quds by Israeli military forces amid tensions over settlement expansion plans and forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds,” Wafa reported in ther article that was reprinted in many other outlets. Wafa identified the terrorist as “one of the leaders of Hamas resistance movement”. The terrorist was killed by Israeli police who “claimed” he shot Israelis in a “purported shooting attack”.

The PA was formed after negotiations between Israel and the PLO led to the Oslo Accords. The PA encourages terrorism by paying terrorists and their families through the Martyrs’ Fund.

The foreign media was not much better. The British Telegraph reported the terrorist attack under the headline, “Hamas Militant Kills Civilian in Submachine Gun Attack in Jerusalem,’ stating that “three others were injured near the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque before he was killed by Israeli Police.”