Extremists rise in new PA government as Biden threatens Israel over Gaza war

JERUSALEM – The new Palestinian Authority (PA) government, inaugurated this week by PA President Mahmoud Abbas – and warmly welcomed by the White House and the State Department – ​​includes at least two ministers who hold opinions extreme and racist towards Israel, Jews and Palestinians. Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli organization that draws attention to Palestinian extremism, revealed this.

Citing Palestinian media reports and video clips of recent public events, PMW revealed how the new Minister of Religious Affairs, Muhammad Mustafa Najem, has openly incited violence against Israelis as a religious imperative, calling Jews wicked and traitors, and quoted a verse. of the Koran which describes the Jews as “monkeys and pigs”.

Another member of the new government, Minister of Women's Affairs Muna Al-Khalili, reportedly praised Palestinian terrorism and, as recently as last month, at a conference in Egypt, claimed that brutal terrorist attacks of Hamas on October 7 – the worst atrocities committed against Jews since the Holocaust during World War II – were a legitimate act of resistance.


The new Palestinian Authority government poses for a photo.

President Mahmud Abbas poses with the new Palestinian government after being sworn in on March 31, 2024 in Ramallah, West Bank. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the Hamas attacks and the subsequent war with Israel that ravaged much of the Gaza Strip, the U.S. administration has urged Abbas to reform and revitalize his governing authority, which has long been accused of corruption and corruption. extremism, so that it could be part of a solution for governing Gaza – in addition to the West Bank – after the war.

The changes made this week, which Abbas said would include plans for institutional reform, restructuring and unification of institutions, as well as the fight against corruption, raising the level of services and a digital transformation, are seen by the United States as part of the desired reform.

However, many Palestinians said no real change could take place as long as Abbas remained in charge; and Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, remain categorical in their rejection of the idea that the authority would be part of any post-war solution for Gaza, emphasizing that it is just as problematic as the Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group.


“The assumption that a 'revitalized' Palestinian Authority will bring in moderate, pragmatic figures, or soften the Palestinian stance toward Israel, is completely false,” Khaled Abu Toameh, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian affairs analyst, told Fox News Digital.

Mohammed Mustafa, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa chairs a cabinet meeting in Ramallah on April 2, 2024. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

He said it was completely unrealistic to expect new ministers to “endorse a pragmatic approach towards Israel”, particularly with the war raging in Gaza, and stressed that even “of Many Palestinians do not understand the difference between the new Palestinian government and the Palestinian government. previous.”

“In his first speech to the council of ministers, the new Prime Minister, Mohammed Mustafa, also used harsh rhetoric against Israel because of the war in Gaza, while completely ignoring the responsibility of Hamas,” Abou Toameh said, adding : “in this respect he was exactly like his predecessor, Mohammed Shtayyeh.”

He added that Shtayyeh, who left his post as prime minister in February, had also talked about reforming the authority, but “not much happened.”


Abbas and Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas during a meeting in Amman on October 13, 2023. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Change will not happen “as long as President Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage are the real and only decision-makers,” said Abou Toameh. “Ultimately, the cabinet reshuffle came to appease the US administration, not out of a sincere desire to introduce financial and administrative reforms or engage in a peace process with Israel.”

Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv who closely follows events in Palestinian society, also said the new leadership of the Palestinian Authority was unlikely to bring any significant changes if Abbas were still in charge.

“The appointment of Mohammed Mustafa is really just replacing one Mohammed with another Mohammed,” he said. “It’s part of the same production line.”

gaza war 2014

Smoke rises after an attack on Gaza City by Israeli planes on July 29, 2014. (Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto/Corbis via Getty Images)

Michael said Mustafa, who previously served as deputy prime minister and economy minister, was a close ally and advisor to Abbas and “he will do whatever Abbas tells him to do.”

“He is there to preserve Abbas's interests and Abbas's last interest is reform,” Michael said, calling the current Palestinian Authority a “lost cause.”

However, in response to the announcement of the new Palestinian government, State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said in a statement that “the United States looks forward to working with the new government to promote peace , security and prosperity and will commit this new government to implementing credible reforms. »


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, US President Biden, Palestinian President Abbas

Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Biden and Palestinian Leader Abbas (Getty Images)

“A revitalized Palestinian Authority is essential to achieving results for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza and to establishing the conditions for stability in the wider region,” he said.

Responding to a request for comment from Fox News Digital on racist and incitement public statements attributed to newly appointed Palestinian ministers, a State Department spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports that some cabinet members of the AP used unacceptable language. We have been absolutely clear. on this point: inflammatory, hateful or dehumanizing speech from any party does not advance peace. »

A PA spokesperson contacted by Fox News Digital did not comment on these claims at the time of publication.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, told Fox News Digital that the United States is “perpetuating the fiction of a reformed Palestinian government” and ignoring its problematic nature in order to achieve their own goals. .

“Mohammed Mustafa is not a reformer, he is a long-time crony of Mahmoud Abbas who has benefited from the corrupt system that Abbas has presided over for almost two decades,” he said. “I think it's important to note that if Abbas remains president of this government – ​​and he is now 19 years into a four-year term – this is not reform.”


Palestinian funerals

Palestinians march during the funeral of terrorists killed the day before during clashes during an Israeli military operation in Jenin, in the West Bank, on July 5, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

“When we see the speech of some of these individuals, we can see that not only are they not reformers, but they are in fact radicals, which should undermine the whole process that is going on,” Schanzer said, adding that the administration was so focused on its goal of ensuring that the Palestinian Authority “inherits the Gaza Strip” that it was “willing to turn a blind eye to a wide range of issues in an attempt to achieve this objective “.

“I believe that ignoring these issues will ultimately lead us down the same path we have been on for years and years,” he said.


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