Trust the Palestinian Authority?
They're still saying one thing in English and the opposite in Arabic.


Daniel Pipes

For example, Palestinian Authority TV, which is directly controlled by Mahmoud Abbas’s office, offers a weekly game show, The Stars, in which representatives of Palestinian universities compete to answer questions. In a recent show, two geography questions (simplified here) implicitly denied the existence of the state of Israel.

How long is the coastline of “Palestine”? The answer, 235 kilometers, adds Gaza’s coast (45 km) to that of Israel’s Mediterranean coast (about 190 km).

How large is Palestine? The answer of 27,000 square kilometers includes the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (6,000 sq km) with that of Israel (21,000 sq km).

In a parallel example of duplicity, Salam Fayyad, who calls himself the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, announced in English in Aspen, Colo., a year ago that Jews would be welcome to live in a future state of Palestine where they “will enjoy [full] rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the state of Israel.”

Lovely words indeed. Just days earlier, however, Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian Authority’s negotiations department, said just the opposite in Arabic (as made available by MEMRI): “Nobody should agree to Israeli settlers remaining in the Palestinian [state]. . . . Some say that we will [be willing to] grant the settlers citizenship. We reject [this idea] out of hand.”

Abbas and Fayyad spoke in English to Americans and Israelis, Erekat spoke in Arabic to Palestinians. Both statements cannot be true; one must be a lie. Which one, I wonder?

Palestinians play this transparent and simple-minded double game because it works. Israelis, Americans, and others too often accept the dulcet tones they hear directly and dismiss reports of harsh words they only hear about. The Palestinian Authority will blithely continue to spew its lies until the world heeds and rejects them, for rewarding bad behavior invariably brings on more bad behavior.

When will we stop deluding ourselves that Abbas and the PA seek anything less than the total elimination of the Jewish state? What disaster must occur before we open our eyes to reality?

– Daniel Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2010 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.