NBC's Fletcher Grudgingly Admits Palestinian President 'Inciting' Violence Against Israel

As NBC's Martin Fletcher made a couple of appearances on MSNBC on Sunday, he made an acknowledgement rarely seen in the dominant media of Palestinian Authority incitement of violence against Israel as he recalled for viewers -- although with apparent reluctance -- that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had recently called for the prevention of Jews entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque with their "filthy feet."

Although not mentioned by Fletcher, the comments from Abbas had come in September when Israelis had to pursue Palestinian rioters who had stored firebombs and firecrackers inside the mosque to be used as weapons. But the NBC correspondent barely scratched the surface of the amount of incitement to violence toward Israelis that has come from the allegedly moderate President Abbas and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority.

At about 9:15 a.m. during an appearance on MSNBC's Up show, he seemed to only grudgingly attach the word "inciting" to President Abbas as he qualified his statement with, "I have to use the word -- inciting." After right-leaning panel member Amy Holmes of The Blaze asked if things would get worse if the 80-year-old Abbas -- also known as Abu Mazen -- were to retire, Fletcher responded:

Well, Abu Mazen is under great pressure from the Palestinian street. I mean, he's sending a dual message. He's saying to them, on the leadership level, to the Israelis, to the Americans, and to the Jordanians and to the Egyptians who are involved, "Yes, we need to, we need to control the violence," and he's sending his security services out to do that.

But, at the same time, when he's speaking in Arabic to the people, he's calling on them to, you know, he's inciting -- I have to use the word -- inciting them talking about Jews visiting holy places with their, quote, "filthy feet" and soiling the Islamic holy places.

After Holmes jumped in to add that Abbas has called violent Palestinians "martyrs," Fletcher hinted that the Palestinian president may only be speaking this way to appease the Palestinian public as he added:

Exactly, so, you know, he's speaking, he's trying to stay in power. He's very unpopular among the Palestinians outside of Ramallah, You know, most of Gaza is against him. Most of the West Bank is against him. He's trying to hang on -- he's an 80-year-old man trying to hang onto power.

As Fletcher made a second appearance at 1:20 p.m. on the Weekends with Alex Witt show, the NBC correspondent dubiously claimed that Abbas "genuinely is against violence" as he speculated about whether the recent stabbing attacks against Jews would amount to a Third Intifada. Fletcher:

It depends on the leadership. You know, the key reason the first two (intifada uprisings) went on so long was that Yasser Arafat under the table supported the uprising. Abu Mazen is different. He's a man who genuinely is against violence, but he's losing control of the streets, it appears.

When host Witt asked if "public comments" were "fueling" the violence, Fletcher again recounted Abbas's "filthy feet" remark but ended up mildly criticizing the words as merely "very unhelpful language." Fletcher:

Well, you know, the Israelis accuse the Palestinian leader of inciting, and one has to say that certain of his comments do that. You know, when he talked about the Jews going to pray in the holy sites, what the Jews call the Temple Mount and the Israelis the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He talked about the Jews going in there with their "filthy feet." So that didn't help matters. It's part of the sort of, you know, it's very unhelpful language obviously.

Not mentioned is the substantial history of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority's words and actions that encourage violence against Israelis.

In September, Abbas praised rioters on the Temple Mount as "martyrs" with "pure blood" who would "reach paradise" and be "rewarded by God," and, amid riots last year near the Al-Aqsa Mosque where weapons were being stored, he declared that "we must prevent them from entering with all means possible."

The Palestinian Authority pays salaries to reward terrorists with salary amounts depending on details of the terrorist act committed, and utilizing U.S. taxpayer funding

Last year, when a Palestinian terrorist was killed after trying to murder Jewish activist Yehudah Glick, known for advocating freedom of prayer for all religions on the Temple Mount, Abbas sent a condolence letter to the terrorist's family and praised him as someone who would "go to heaven" for his actions.

And, under the control of Abbas's Fatah party, the Palestinian Authority has a history of naming streets and parks after terrorists.

And more recently, the Palestinian president has refused to condemn the current spate of stabbing attacks against Israeli Jews. Abbas's Fatah party has also distributed leaflets that praise terrorists.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of MSNBC's Up show and MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt show from Sunday, October 18:

#From MSNBC's Up show:

9:15 a.m.
AMY HOLMES, THE BLAZE: But I do want to ask a question about Palestinian leadership. The Palestinian Center for Survey and Research, they found that last month, that two-thirds of Palestinians would like to see Mahmoud Abbas step down. Does that make the situation even more dangerous?

MARTIN FLETCHER: Well, Abu Mazen is under great pressure from the Palestinian street. I mean, he's sending a dual message. He's saying to them, on the leadership level, to the Israelis, to the Americans, and to the Jordanians and to the Egyptians who are involved, "Yes, we need to, we need to control the violence," and he's sending his security services out to do that. But, at the same time, when he's speaking in Arabic to the people, he's calling on them to, you know, he's inciting -- I have to use the word -- inciting them talking about Jews visiting holy places with their, quote, "filthy feet"-

HOLMES: Right.

FLETCHER: -and soiling the Islamic holy places.

HOLMES: Pure blood being spilled as martyrs.

FLETCHER: Exactly, so, you know, he's speaking, he's trying to stay in power. He's very unpopular among the Palestinians outside of Ramallah, You know, most of Gaza is against him. Most of the West Bank is against him. He's trying to hang on -- he's an 80-year-old man trying to hang onto power.

#From MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt show:

1:20 p.m.
ALEX WITT: First of all, are we looking at the birth of a Third Intifada?

MARTIN FLETCHER: It's hard to say. It depends how long it goes on for. You know, the First Intifada was stones and rocks. The Second was bombs and suicide bombs and guns. Now, today, there's a gun attack. Otherwise, it's been knives. We'll have to see. It depends on the leadership. You know, the key reason the first two went on so long was that Yasser Arafat under the table supported the uprising. Abu Mazen is different. He's a man who genuinely is against violence, but he's losing control of the streets, it appears.

WITT: Did you get a sense that anything, the public comments from either of the leaders is fueling or helping to quell the situation?

FLETCHER: Well, you know, the Israelis accuse the Palestinian leader of inciting, and one has to say that certain of his comments do that. You know, when he talked about the Jews going to pray in the holy sites, what the Jews call the Temple Mount and the Israelis the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He talked about the Jews going in there with their "filthy feet." So that didn't help matters. It's part of the sort of, you know, it's very unhelpful language obviously.

Israel/Palestine Middle East Islam Judaism NBC MSNBC Mahmoud Abbas Martin Fletcher


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