JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Palestinian Authority's president and prime minister used their Nakba speeches Tuesday to threaten and denigrate the Jewish state.
Nakba, meaning "the catastrophe," is the official P.A. response to the reestablishment of Israel as a modern nation-state on May 14, 1948.
In his remarks, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of decades of ethnic cleansing in its capital, Jerusalem. For Abbas, building in Jerusalem neighborhoods occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967 is illegitimate.
"For decades, Israel has been building settlements in Jerusalem and around it. This is done in a massive destruction of houses in the city and their original inhabitants are being uprooted on a daily basis," Abbas said.
But his charges conflict with the facts. There is no "massive destruction of houses in the city," rather an occasional demolition of homes -- both Jewish and Arab -- that were built without legal permits.
Continuing down the same path, Abbas accused Israel of plotting to destroy the al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount. Israel, in fact, has gone out of its way to protect Muslim worshippers where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood. Muslims flock to the Temple Mount for Friday prayers. Jews, as well as Christians, are not allowed to pray there for fear of inciting the Arabs.
Israeli police interfere occasionally when Muslims riot or pelt Jews praying at the Western Wall below. (During the Jordanian occupation, the area in front of Judaism's holiest place -- now a beautifully kept plaza -- was strewn with mounds of garbage).
Abbas called "the continued Israeli occupation of Jerusalem…the main factor that fans the tension and wars in the region and in the world."
Most analysts concede that Israel is not responsible for the uprisings (Arab "spring") in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Jordan. Rather, the role of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood has become increasingly clear.
Abbas says there will be no peace without Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. It seems little has changed for him since 1948.
"As long as the occupation continues, there will be no peace," he said, promising to "turn every grain and stone to put a complete stop to the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine. Until then, the Israelis will not be able to live peacefully, but will continue to deal with the consequences of their existence in the heart of a hostile environment."
In his remarks, P.A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines while agreeing to accept Palestinian "refugees" and their descendents into what would be a severely truncated Jewish state.
The so-called right of return is the basis for the P.A.'s refusal to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
An estimated 585,000 Palestinian Arabs who left their homes in May 1948 at the behest of Arab leaders have been kept as "refugees" in neighboring countries to be used as pawns against the Jewish state. Today, their descendants number up to five million. The P.A. claims no responsibility toward them other than to lobby for their right of return to Israel.
"The right of return is sacred and cannot be comprised," Fayyad told protesters in his Nakba speech.
For all intents and purposes, Abbas and Fayyad's thinly veiled remarks -- a sort of verbal jihad -- are calling for an end to Israel, giving voice to the ideology that permeates the P.A.'s official maps, documents, media, culture and school curriculum.
By demanding the uprooting of a quarter of a million Israelis and the re-division of the nation's capital and then opening the door for millions of foreign Arabs to overrun the Jewish state, they are, in essence, calling for its end.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Israel has no plans to accommodate them.
Israel national news contributed to this report.