October 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Anticipating Blinken Visit, Abbas Belatedly Condemns Violence Against Civilians

October 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Anticipating Blinken Visit, Abbas Belatedly Condemns Violence Against Civilians

Latest Developments

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on October 12 condemned violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike. “We reject the practices of killing civilians or abusing them on both sides,” he said during a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, a day before he met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Jordanian capital. This statement comes after six days of the PA’s failure to condemn Hamas’ atrocities against Israeli civilians. On October 7, as Hamas besieged and massacred Israelis, Abbas stressed at a PA emergency meeting that Palestinians had the “right to defend themselves.” On October 9, Abbas’ ruling party, Fatah, released a statement praising the Hamas attacks, calling on all Palestinians to “escalate all the conflict zones.”

Expert Analysis

“The relevance of Mahmoud Abbas is dwindling as corruption, detainment of political rivals, and terror groups in the West Bank have undermined his influence substantially. Moreover, the recent barbaric attack in southern Israel has catapulted Hamas to the forefront of the international stage, which undoubtedly places Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in a weakened position.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“After massacring over 1,300 Israelis in cold blood, Hamas is trying to gain control of the narrative, spreading lies and misinformation on English speaking media, while continuing to call for violence against Israelis and Jews.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“Israel’s campaign to degrade Hamas in the wake of the massacre will leave a power vacuum in Gaza. The PA would be the natural party to fill the void, but Abbas’ lack of leadership and legitimacy raises doubts about his ability to seize this opportunity.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Hamas Denies Killing Civilians, Continues to Agitate for Violence

In a Sky News interview on October 9, a Hamas spokesperson denied that Hamas was responsible for killing civilians, accusing news organizations of falling victim to “Israeli propaganda.” Despite this denial, Hamas officials have openly lauded the success of the operation in Arabic media, and its patron Iran has praised the attacks. Hamas has called for continued violence against Israelis and Jews, urging a day of rage to take place on October 13.

Israel Awakes to Relative Quiet

On the morning of October 13, Israelis awoke to relative quiet. Over the course of the previous night, only one siren was heard across the country in a community close to the Gaza border. By the afternoon, the sirens had resumed, sounding intermittently in the region surrounding Gaza. October 13 marks the first day since the initial Hamas attack that the death toll in Israel has not risen overnight, although the fate of the hostages in Gaza remains unknown.

Secretary of State Blinken Arrives in Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

“It’s the hidden hand of Khamenei’s regime in Iran that set the Middle East ablaze — and will trigger all-out war,” by Mark Dubowitz

“Turning Congressional Outrage Into Action: A U.S. Response to Hamas’ War Against Israel,” by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg


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