Scathing letter to French President Hollande from a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah

His Excellency, François Hollande

Dear Mr. President,

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Gatestone  First, I wish to express my deep condolences over the killing of innocent citizens in the recent terror attacks in Paris.

Second, I want to apologize to Your Excellency for not revealing my true identity. After you read my letter, you will realize why people like me are afraid to reveal their real identity.

Your Excellency, many Palestinians nearly fell off their chairs upon seeing their president march at the front row of a rally in your capital to protest against terrorism and assaults on freedom of the media.

ABBAS, second from right
ABBAS, second from right

Like many Palestinians, I see President Abbas’s participation in a rally against terrorism and assaults on freedom of speech as an act of hypocrisy — a condition that is not alien to Palestinian Authority leaders. President Abbas’s participation in the rally is an insult to the victims of the terror attacks. It is also an insult to Western values, including freedom of expression and democracy.

Undoubtedly, you are unaware of the fact that President Abbas is personally responsible for punishing Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize him or express their views in public. Every day we see that the Western media, including French newspapers and magazines, does not care about such violations unless they are committed by Israel.

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That is why you are probably unaware of the cases of several Palestinian journalists who have been arrested and intimidated by President Abbas’s security forces over the past few years. Yes, this is the same Abbas who came to Paris to express his condolences over the brutal killing of the Charlie Hebdo journalists.

Your Excellency, you are completely mistaken if you believe that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are tolerant toward satire or any form of criticism. While he was attending the rally, a human rights group published a report accusing the Palestinian Authority of “waging war” against university students in the West Bank.

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And, if you want further evidence of President Abbas’s clampdown on political satire, you can ask Palestinian comedians Abdel Rahman Daher and Mahmoud Rizek. The two men are currently in Jordan because they are afraid to return to the West Bank. No, Your Excellency, they are NOT afraid to return home because of Israel. They are afraid of being arrested by President Abbas’s security forces, which accuse the two men of insulting their leader.

You can learn a lot about this by going on the Internet and seeing, with your own eyes, how our president often condones and glorifies terrorism and terrorists. You will even discover that our president is prepared to stay awake all night to welcome Palestinians released from Israeli prison for murdering Jews and committing terror attacks no less serious than the ones your country experienced last week.

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You will also discover, that our president also rewards terrorists by granting them monthly salaries and other privileges.

President Abbas should be the last person to walk in a march honoring journalists who were massacred because of their satirical work. By extending the invitation to President Abbas, you have caused damage to Palestinians like me who have been hoping that someone — maybe even a leader like you — would finally expose the dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority for what it is. President Abbas’s participation in the Paris rally is a severe blow to people like me who are genuinely opposed to terrorism and suppression of free speech.

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President Abbas has managed once again to deceive you and the rest of the international community. He now has managed to create the false impression that he cares about freedom of speech and independent journalism

Palestinians like me will now pay a heaver price because Abbas has been emboldened and will now step up his assaults. France will be helping to establish another corrupt and repressive Arab dictatorship — one that glorifies and rewards terrorists no different from those who carried out the Paris attacks.

I hope now your Excellency understands why I am too scared to reveal my identity.

Sincerely,

A Palestinian Journalist with No Name or Voice

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