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A Worthy Successor

PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas has narrowly escaped an attempt on his life by those bent on continuing the legacy of Terrorfat. And Abbas has responded by showing leadership qualities..or more specifically PLO Arab leadership qualities. That is, he has denied the incident was what it was, and lied through his teeth in the process.

At least two people were killed Sunday when dozens of armed men belonging to Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades opened fire on the official mourning tent for Yasser Arafat in the Gaza Strip. 

 

They apparently directed their fire toward PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and former minister of security Mohammed Dahlan, who were in the tent and were not hurt by the gunfire. Both Abbas and Dahlan denied that the gunmen were attempting to carry out an assassination, with Abbas and other witnesses saying the gunmen were firing in the air.

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Some of the gunmen shouted slogans calling Abbas, a moderate who has spoken out against violence, an agent of the United States. They also shouted “No to Abu Mazen” as they walked by him and began firing shots into the air.

 

Several hours earlier, the group had declared the existence of a new rocket, the “Yasser 1,” with an 18-kilometer range capable of reaching targets within Israel and shouted that Abbas and Dahlan were “collaborators” and “traitors.”

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Abbas and Dahlan arrived at the mourning tent at about 6 P.M. Sunday near the helicopter pad at Arafat’s home on the beach in Gaza City. A short time later, after the two had begun to receive public officials as well as ordinary mourners who had come from across the Gaza Strip to express their condolences, the group of gunmen appeared.

 

According to eyewitnesses, guards on the outer perimeter began to fight with the group, most of which was armed, as it approached the tent. Seconds later, the guards and the gunmen exchanged fire and the two bodyguards were killed by gunshot wounds to the neck. The guards closest to Abbas and Dahlan immediately closed in around them and hurried them out of the tent.

 

The group subsequently published a leaflet claiming responsibility for an “assassination attempt” on the two. “We warn the pretenders to the legacy of Yasser Arafat, no matter how senior they are, not to think of stopping the intifada and betraying Yasser Arafat’s legacy.”

 

Abbas, however, denied the incident was an assassination attempt. “What happened had no political or personal character. What happened was that we came in and began to receive the mourners. Because of the powerful emotions surrounding Arafat’s death, it became very crowded and unintentional firing into the air started. We were then advised to leave the premises and we did so.

 

“I did not hear any calls against me or against anyone. This act is a sign that must be looked at closely; it is the result of the previous situation in the PA. Any responsible person must act so these things do not continue. The people are demonstrating their feelings and sometimes the situation declines, as was the case at Arafat’s funeral in Ramallah.”

 

Dahlan said the incident was “the result of a certain confusion in the guarding of the compound, but it was not an assassination attempt.”

So let’s get this straight. A group of gunmen, who make no secret of their view that Abbas and Dahlan are traitors, approach them and fire at them, killing instead their bodyguards. The gunmen later publish a pamphlet admitting it was an assassination attempt. Yet both Abbas and Dahlan claim it was due to the “powerful emotions” surrounding Arafat’s death, which somehow led to the gunmen with automatic weapons involuntarily firing into the air. The bullets happened to hit the two bodyguards in the neck. In light of this unfortunate chain of events, Abbas and Dahlan were advised that perhaps they should quietly leave.

 

Sounds ridiculous? That’s because it is.

 

Here’s another version of a quote from Abbas, reported in the Jerusalem Post, which shows his aversion to the truth:

“This attack has no personal or private dimension,” a visibly shaken Abbas told reporters in his office in Gaza City. “It’s the result of heated emotions following the martyrdom of President Arafat.”

I was not aware that contracting a deadly illness (likely by sleeping with young boys) and dying as a frail, helpless man, constitutes “martyrdom” in the usual sense of the word. But then again, in the PA’s world, I guess it can mean whatever you want it to mean.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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