JERUSALEM, Israel -- Mahmoud Abbas is on a mission. And he's becoming increasingly adept at diplomatic doublespeak.
The Palestinian Authority leader is traveling around Europe this week lobbying governments to divest from doing business in Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), as well as any Jerusalem neighborhoods outside the pre-1967 borders (1949 armistice lines). He says they're breaking international law by doing so.
"I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the [Jewish] settlements to put an end to their activities," Abbas told reporters after meeting with the E.U.'s Herman van Rompuy in Brussels. "Such activities are a violation of international law."
Abbas has a listening ear in many European countries. Last July, the E.U. issued guidelines outlining sanctions to divest from Jewish businesses as well as cultural and educational institutions in these areas.
The idea is to penalize Israelis living where Abbas envisions a future Palestinian state -- one that will eventually replace Israel altogether, as seen on the P.A.'s official logo.
Abbas spoke of his willingness to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- a recent turnaround from the past five years -- saying the P.A. wants "to build bridges of peace" with Israel.
There are a few glitches. Abbas knows most of his demands are nonstarters. But with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, special envoy Martin Indyk and their boss hoping for a negotiated settlement by spring, Abbas may believe now is the time to get the rest of the world behind him. The glitches include, but are not limited to, the following.
The territory the Palestinian Authority envisions as a future state would be Judenrein (the Nazi term for Jew free) -- that means at least a half million Jews would be thrown out of their homes, schools, businesses and communities -- and Jerusalem would be divided as it was during the Jordanian occupation. The Old City, the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter would be under Palestinian rule. Perhaps Jews would no longer be permitted to pray at the Western Wall, just as it is on the Temple Mount today.
And the "piece de resistance" would be opening the gates of a reduced Israel to five million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, effectively eliminating the Jewish nation-state altogether.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas are lined up on this one point: their future state will replace Israel sooner or later. Make no mistake. That's their goal.