The violence engulfing Israel and Palestine isn’t subsiding, and there are fears of a third intifada brewing. Recently, an Israeli family was injured in a firebombing attack. Last Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper had Maen Rashid Areikat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization on his show to discuss remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said it was a Palestinian who gave Hitler the idea of exterminating the Jewish people. Of course, the statements drew condemnation for adding fuel to the fire of an already tense situation, but what about the Palestinians?
Areikat accused the Israeli police of being judge and executioner concerning how they were defending innocent Israelis from Palestinian knife attacks. Yet, Tapper added that if you charge a police officer with a knife in this country, and in most I would assume, they would shoot you on the spot. Newsbusters provided the transcript of the exchange, while the Free Beacon clipped the video [emphasis mine]:
JAKE TAPPER: Turning to another part of the Middle East where tensions continue to run high after days of bloodshed between Israel and the Palestinians, adding fuel to the fire today, claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claims that Hitler just wanted to expel Jews from Europe, but then a prominent Jerusalem leader in Jerusalem suggested the Hitler exterminate them instead.
The comments have drawn widespread condemnation not only from Palestinian leaders and Israelis including those in his own party, but from leading Israeli historians and advocates for survivors of the Holocaust. There is growing concern that Netanyahu’s remarks will only throw flames on the fire. Joining me right now is Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat,chief representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the United States. Mr. Ambassador, thanks for being here. What is your reaction to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments?
(AMBASSADOR MAEN RASHID AREIKAT, PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION accuses Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and of inciting against the Palestinians.)
TAPPER: Let’s talk about some of the other accusations of incitement against Palestinian leaders because, as you know, Netanyahu is accusing Palestinian leaders of doing the same thing. Last month, for instance, in a televised address, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, quote, “We salute every drop of blood shed for Jerusalem. It is clean blood, pure blood, it is blood shed for the sake of God. By the grace of God, those killed [martyrs] will be granted entrance to heaven, and those injured will receive good deed [from God].”
And after that, numerous Palestinians began stabbing Israeli civilians in Jerusalem. Isn’t Abbas guilty of incitement as well?
AREIKAT: Well, there’s no such relationship between the statement that President Abbas made last month and the violence that erupted after that.
TAPPER: How do you know that?
AREIKAT: Because, you know, what the President meant was that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is very sacred to Muslims all over the world and that it is a duty and a responsibility of Palestinians and Muslims to defend Al-Aqsa. Let me add here that despite all the denials by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government that they are not trying to change the status quo, the provocations that have been going on in Al-Aqsa Mosque for the last year, his reneging on the understanding that he reached with King Abdullah of Jordan, with Secretary Kerry, to stop these provocations are a major proof
TAPPER: But do those provocations, in your view, justify the stabbing of civilians?
AREIKAT: No, no, no, no, listen, the Palestinian-
TAPPER: So why are Palestinian leaders not condemning this?
AREIKAT: The Palestinian leadership position on this is very clear. We want our people to resist the occupation peacefully, diplomatically, and legally. Let us not forget what is at issue here, Jake, I mean, people are taking the situation from October 1 until today in which 55 Palestinian have been shot and killed. Some of them were involved in attacks against Israelis — I’m not denying that. However, you know, the number of Palestinians who were executed on the field after they were wounded is very large here. And the Palestinian leadership does not condone any kind of violence against any civilian. It is the Palestinian people that are paying the heavy price in this confrontation.
TAPPER: But isn’t Abbas out there saying that two innocents — Palestinian teenagers — were murdered by Israel when there is actually videotape showing one of the Palestinian teens charging at Israeli police with a knife before being shot? And the other teen is alive. Isn’t President Abbas out there saying that?
AREIKAT: Does this change the fact that one of them was shot and killed by the Israeli police?
TAPPER: But there’s tape of him with a knife. (INAUDIBLE) with a knife.
AREIKAT: This is the problem, okay, well, the Israelis are being the judge and the executioner at the same time. They had chances to apprehend the people after they shot them.
TAPPER: If you run at a cop with a knife in this country, you’ll get shot.
AREIKAT: Yeah, but the policeman try to stop the attacker, they try to shoot to injure him, and if they injure the person, they arrest them and apprehend them. In the case of many Palestinians, they were executed on the spot. However-
TAPPER: If I have a knife and I run outside here and go at a cop with a knife, I’m going to get executed. That’s how it works.
AREIKAT: You know what the issue is here? Israeli victims, Israeli casualties are treated as human beings who lost their lives. Palestinians are treated here as numbers. Fifty-five Palestinians have been killed. You see letters signed by Congress talking about innocent Israeli civilians who were killed. They don’t talk about the number of Palestinian civilians have died since the beginning of the year — 81 of them.
TAPPER: We do on this show. I appreciate you being here. Thank you very much. –
This isn’t the first time Tapper has called out the PLO on their nonsense. In July of 2014, former PLO Spokesperson Diana Buttu appeared on his show and couldn’t answer basic questions about Israel’s defensive actions in the Gaza Strip.