fighting words

Friedman rips PA, Abbas calls him out


JERUSALEM — Early on Monday, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, criticized the Palestinian Authority for not condemning two terror attacks in recent days that left three Israelis dead.

Later that day, at the opening of a Palestinian leadership meeting, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas called Friedman a “son of a dog” and a “settler” after noting that the ambassador views settlements as legitimate and supported them as a private citizen, the Times of Israel reported.

“Son of a dog” is a mild pejorative in Arabic, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Friedman responded while at an anti-Semitism conference in Jerusalem using a stronger term, the Jerusalem Post reported. He added: “Anti-Semitism or political discourse? I leave this up to you.”

“Tragedy in Israel,” Friedman wrote in his original remarks on Twitter very early Monday morning. “2 young soldiers, Netanel Kahalani and Ziv Daos, murdered in the North, and father of 4, Adiel Kolman, murdered in Jerusalem, by Palestinian terrorists. Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA! I pray for the families and the wounded — so much sadness.”

Kolman was stabbed by a Palestinian assailant from the West Bank on Sunday afternoon and succumbed to his injuries that night. Kahalani and Daos were killed in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank on Friday in which two other soldiers were seriously injured.

Jason Greenblatt, the top Trump administration Middle East peace negotiator, reacted to Abbas’ vitriol by saying that the Palestinian president must choose between “hateful rhetoric” and peace.

“The time has come for President Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity,” Jason Greenblatt said in a statement emailed Monday afternoon to reporters.

“Notwithstanding his highly inappropriate insults against members of the Trump administration, the latest iteration being his insult of my good friend and colleague Ambassador Friedman, we are committed to the Palestinian people and to the changes that must be implemented for peaceful coexistence,” Greenblatt said.

“We are finalizing our plan for peace and we will advance it when circumstances are right.”

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, leads a three-person team seeking to restart Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. The other two members are Greenblatt and Friedman, and Abbas has made clear his dislike for Friedman in the past. In January, Abbas in a speech called Friedman a “settler” and swore never to meet with him.