Palestine – Abbas gets Lost in the Translation

October 19, 2011 by David Singer
Read on for article

PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been often criticised for making statements in English that are contradicted by other statements made by him in Arabic. Abbas has continued this art of doublespeak first perfected by his predecessor Yasser Arafat –  tailoring his views to the audience that he is addressing…writes David Singer.

What is equally as sinister – and indeed should perhaps be regarded with even more alarm – is the apparent attempt by some sections of the media to put Abbas in a favorable light by deliberately mistranslating into English what he says in Arabic.

This is illustrated by considering two differing versions of remarks made by Abbas – when greeting some of the convicted terrorists released in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Guardian reported Mr Abbas as saying:

“Your efforts have not been in vain,” he told a crowd of thousands, which included 133 of the freed prisoners. “You have sacrificed, fought and paid the price.” 

This identical quote was  also carried by such media outlets as UTV News and NewsRack

Sky News however reported Mr Abbas’s speech in different terms:

“Your sacrifices and your efforts and your work has not been in vain. You have sacrificed and fought,”

This version was also carried by Lebanon News and The Australian Newspaper.

The discrepancy between both reports is glaring .

The omission of “your work” in the Guardian story cannot be described as  “nitpicking” or “inconsequential.”  Such omission could not have been purely accidental or due to the Guardian’s translator having less of a grasp of Arabic than the Sky News translator. 

If Abbas was to be seen in Western eyes as openly and publicly condoning and praising the “work” of these released terrorists –  it could well have an adverse affect on Abbas’s image as a peace-seeking diplomat presently touring world capitals to enlist support for the PLO‘s application for recognition of the State of Palestine and its admission as a member of the United Nations.

In the absence of a satisfactory explanation as to why he chose to use these clearly inflammatory words – or to deny he ever used them – member States of the United Nations would be entitled to take a strong view against acceding to his request to join them in the United Nations as head of a fellow peace-loving state.

Mr Abbas has signed and made the following Declaration to the United Nations as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization:


“In connection with the application of the State of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations, I have the honour, in my capacity as the President of the State of Palestine and  as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, to solemnly declare that the State of Palestine is a peace-loving nation and that it accepts the obligations contained in the Charter of the United Nations and solemnly undertakes to fulfill them.”


Can Mr Abbas’s peace loving declaration have any meaning  when one considers his praise of the “work” these returning terrorists had done and that he told them had not been in vain – and which remarks the Guardian seems to have been so concerned to conceal from its readers ?


The “work” performed by these terrorists included:.

  1. Amna Muna – a young woman – who had lured a lovestruck Israeli teenage boy by the name of Ophir Nahum to a Palestinian city over the Internet, only to have him killed by waiting terrorists.
  2. Ahlam Tamimi  another woman now aged 31 – who was sentenced to 16 consecutive life terms in jail for her involvement in the terrorist attack on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001 that claimed the lives of 16 innocent victims, amongst them many Jewish children. Tamimi has never expressed remorse and told reporters in 2006:

“I’m not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”

Accepting her statement at face value – it appears clear that Tamimi intends continuing to resume her “work” in the future.

3.  Abdel Hadi Ghneim – the surviving perpetrator of the Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 suicide attack that killed 16 civilians after he drove the bus down a ravine.

4.  Abd al-Aziz Yussuf Mustafa Salehi – photographed in 2000 displaying his blood-soaked hands to a jubilant Palestinian mob after lynching an Israeli soldier and beating him to death

Praising this kind of “work” can be expected from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh –  not from Abbas.


Abbas’s statement is the very antithesis of seeking peace and reconciliation and makes his declaration to the United Nations a mockery.

Article 9 of the PLO Charter still remains Mr Abbas’s real intention – as his praise of the work done by these terrorists makes clear:

Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm     resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it . They also assert their right to normal life in     Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it. 

Murdering innocent civilians and lynching a captured Israeli soldier are still seen by Abbas as not only justifiable – but worthy of praise and commendation.

His peace-loving declaration to the United Nations is not worth the paper it is written on.

Neither is the Guardian’s inaccurate report of what he supposedly said.


David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


10 Responses to “Palestine – Abbas gets Lost in the Translation”
  1. david singer says:

    To ben

    Shucks ben – why don’t you post all your info again? Then we will know what you are talking about.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    You want to laugh, but then realise that you are dealing with serious aberrations. Someone Ben is spinning way out of the customary palestinian absurdities. As a rule, terrorists do NOT complain when their operatives and leaders are dealt with in decisive ways by those oppsing them, who also happen to be the victims of the said terrorists’ activities. For instance the surgical elimination of Bin Ladden was NOT criticised as such by his own mob. They knew that THIS was te EXPECTED retorts metted out by the enemies of AlQuaeda.Same with Hamas.Hamas DO declare their “fixed up” men martyrs, they parade their corpses with coreges of countless “cortege” pros through the Martyrs Boulevards of Gaza ,but they do NOT complain about the type of operations to which Ben makes mention. All that because all these seriously derranged terrorists know that they have entered a kind of life NOT worth living, but being eliminated for. Israel obliges. Yet another small detail, this time so plainly explained to Ben, who must have forgotten to complete his “exposee” by suggesting HOW should Israel really, really deal with her ….mortal foes. A friendly chat over a cuppuccino on Ben Yehuda completely out of the question,trust me !!!

  3. ben says:

    hell Admin. I posted a detailed response to David singer quoting sources, dates and documents about the widespread maiming of Palestinian civilians and the use of sharpshooters, attack helicopters, missiles, expanding ammunition and the targetted killing of moderate Palestinian leaders including Dr Thibbi. It was on the site for at least twelve hours and has now disappeared.

  4. ben says:

    Helo J wire. I can see your censorship is at work again. I gave a substantiated reply to David Singer and you removed it. So much for credibility. You are just like AJN and AIJAC.

  5. david singer says:

    To Ben

    Your irrational and unsubstantiated rant cannot wish away the heinous crimes committed by many of those released by Israel in exchange for Gilad Shalit – four of which I detailed in my article.

    Are you really seeking to justify or excuse the actions of any of them?

    The list of their crimes and the potential they had to wreak – and in fact did wreak – was breathtaking.

    Take the case of another – Wafa al-Biss – one of the freed Palestinian Arab prisoners, who on her return to her home in the northern Gaza Strip told cheering schoolchildren she hoped they would follow her example. She said, “I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,”

    What was her crime?

    In 2004/2005 Wafa’s life was saved by doctors at Soroka hospital in Beersheba where she was successfully treated for massive burns suffered in a gas-tank explosion. She developed a good relationship with the medical team and her family was so appreciative of the six-month treatment she had received that they wrote a letter of appreciation to the doctors. It said “the care was wonderful and warm”

    Nevertheless, on June 20, 2005 Wafa entered the Erez crossing ostensibly to travel to Soroka hospital for further treatment but this time, with the intention, by means of an explosives belt hidden in her underclothes, to carry out a suicide bombing in the hospital where she had received such excellent treatment.

    Her heavy clothing aroused suspicion at the crossing and when the explosive belt was revealed, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it.

    Under questioning Wafa revealed that she had been instructed by the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to use her personal medical authorization documents, to carry out the suicide attack in a crowded portion of the Israeli hospital.

    Well Ben – how can you justify this evil person’s action and her continuing desire to instill others to emulated her vile intention?

    This was not Hamas that was running her. It was Abbas and his cronies that tried to get her to blow up a hospital – the same Abbas who praised her for her “work” on her release.

    Do you want me to give you further examples of what evil israel’s neighbours tried to carry out – and which no doubt many of them will try to do again – or inspire others to do – following their release?

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    Waldmann writes perfectly clear English and is not at all surprised that those he disagrees with don’t get it.

  7. ben says:

    Could some one ask Waldman to write English? Did he ever learn plain speech ?

  8. Otto Waldmann says:

    As the “dialectics” of the palestinian kind need to be known in order to arrange a suitable retort, the blood-shot rational blindness that governs all adherents of pathological criminal Jew-haters deserve also an immediate reply.
    Thus, the reflex tirrades of justification of violence as the raison d’ettre of anything that reeks palestininan, whether ab originae or fellow travellers, never seems to shy away from the temerity of displaying the, by now customary, thirst for retribution, revenge, unbrilded cruelty all in the name of a national legitimacy that could only place its inhabitants within the infamous circle of universal crimnality. Inspired by luminaries such as Arafat, Ahmanidejab, Bin Laden and the freshly dealt with Ghadaffi, the Bens of this unfortunate world exact the juices of their public self-satisfaction through the emanation of such deranged syntaxes, that those allerted to their halucinations are necessarily compelled to contemplate more rigurous measures of caution and security. Simply put, next time ( and there will be, unfortunately one ) those hard working role models of Ben’s traumatised existence shall be dealt a much more resolute justice !!!!
    Incidentally , how can anyone smear what Yidish terms as “drek” !!!

  9. ben says:

    Scarenongering and smear by Singer. Many of the Palestinians arrested were teenagers and young men for demonstrating and throwing stones at Israeli tanks and soldiers. Many were under administrative detention for years without charges against them. And while Palestinians have commited teror, Singer blithely ignores Rabin’s order to “break their bones” which was followed by massive terror against Palestinians opposing Israeli occupation and the deliberate use of sharpshooters and helicopter mounted troops against civilians during the second intifada , to shoot people in the eyes and knees – to kep death figures low by maiming Palestinians in a place of little medical assistance, and to kill the leaders of protests – documenetd by Gush Shalom, Haaretz, Tanya Reinhart et al – the terror attacks followed this brutal state terror. While the Palestinins have been imprisoned, killed and their houses demolished to make way for more exclusive settlememnts, the Israeli politicians and officers have gone on to become cabinet ministers, prime mi nisters, presidents, general and chiefs of security agencies. Singer is merely smearing Palestinians and Abbas in the process.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments