Abbas’ PA Again Honors Terrorist Who Murdered Israelis
July 14, 2008

Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has asked Israel to hand over the remains of Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian woman who led the March 11, 1978 coastal road attack in which 36 people were murdered and 71 wounded, so that it may honor her with a major funeral in Ramallah. Israel is planning to deliver Mughrabi’s remains, together with those of scores of Palestinians and Lebanese, to Hizballah in the context of the new prisoner exchange between the two sides. 

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official closely associated with PA President Abbas, described Mughrabi, whose family originally came from Jaffa, as “the first Palestinian woman to carry out one of the most courageous operations in Israel … We want to turn Dalal’s funeral into a national wedding, a major celebration … The operation she carried out off the shores of her hometown of Jaffa was heroic and exemplary. She will always be remembered as a symbol for the Palestinian women’s struggle.”  

Ahmed also praised Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar for carrying out another terror attack in Israel one year after the 1978 carnage. He described Kuntar as a “stubborn and firm fighter in the ranks of the Lebanese resistance who led a very courageous operation.” 

Since its inception, the PA has honored Mughrabi by naming many schools and various institutions after her. An article published in Thursday’s edition of the PA-funded Al-Hayat Al-Jadida newspaper hailed Mughrabi as a “living legend and a wonderful example for all women.” 

The article criticized Hizballah for agreeing to bury Mughrabi in Lebanon and not in the Palestinian territories. It said that someone like her deserved to be buried next to Yasser Arafat’s grave in Ramallah (Khaled Abu Toameh, ‘PA wants ‘festive’ funeral for coastal road killer,’ Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2008). 

Other examples of Abbas’ PA honoring terrorists: 

  • March 2008: Mahmoud Abbas’ official PA daily newspaper, Al Hayat Al Jadida, honored the March 2008 murderer of the eight high school students at Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav seminary as a Shahid – [Holy Islamic Martyr] and placed a picture of the killer on the front page, with the caption, ‘The Shahid Alaa Abu D’heim.’ In a Page One article on the terror killings, his act was defined as a ‘Shahada achieving’ action. (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, ‘Killer of eight young men is Holy Martyr- Shahid: Action should cost PA $150 million in US aid,’ Palestinian Media Watch, March 9, 2008). Also, in response to the same attack, the Jerusalem Post reported that “In Gaza City, residents went out into the streets and fired rifles in celebration in the air after hearing news of the attack on the seminary” (‘Several Palestinian terrorists open fire at students in yeshiva,’ Jerusalem Post, March 6, 2008).

  • February 2008: All three newspapers controlled by Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) have glorified the two suicide bombers who struck in Dimona on February 4, 2008. One suicide bomber detonated his belt, killing one Israeli and wounding 11 others, while the second bomber, injured by the blast of the first, was killed by an Israeli security officer before he could detonate his belt. The daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida said that, “The perpetrators of the operation died as shahids [glorious martyrs] … an Israeli was killed and eleven were wounded in the Dimona operation” (Feb. 5), while the dailies Al-Iyam and Al-Quds also defined the bombers as glorious martyrs (Yadid Berman, ‘PA glorifies Dimona terrorists,’ Jerusalem Post, February 6, 2008).

  • February 2008: Abbas declared, “I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it’s like; when it is effective and when it isn’t effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is … We [Fatah] had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizballah, who trained in our military camps” (‘Abbas: Armed ‘resistance’ not ruled out,’ Jerusalem Post, February 28, 2008).

  • January 2008: On the occasion of the death of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine founder and leader George Habash, Abbas declared, ‘The death of this historic leader is a great loss for the Palestinian cause and for the Palestinian people for whom he fought for 60 years” (‘PFLP founder George Habash mourned as ‘historic leader for Palestinians,’ Daily Star [Beirut], January 28, 2008).

  • January 2007: Palestinian Arabs in the town of Jenin named a school and main street in honor of Saddam Hussein. The street in question was newly paved 18 months ago with money provided by USAID (Palestinian Media Watch, January 22, 2007).

  • August 2006: Abbas praised the Lebanese Islamist terrorist group Hizballah, for its hostilities with Israel, saying that it is a source of pride and sets an example for what he termed the “Arab resistance.” (Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2006).

  • December 2005: The PA official radio station, ‘Voice of Palestine,’ described as “heroically martyred” a suicide bomber sent by Palestinian Islamic Jihad struck south of Tulkarm, near Shavei Shomron, blowing himself up IDF soldiers inspected the vehicle, killing a soldier, three Palestinians in the car and himself. (Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2005). ‘Voice of Palestine’ radio described this act of murder in these terms: “Three citizens were heroically martyred today in an explosive operation that targeted Israeli soldiers at a roadblock south of Tulkarm.” (Independent Media Review & Analysis, December 29, 2005).

  • August 2005: A Palestinian college, the Gaza Center for Culture and the Arts, launched a new course of Palestinian folklore for female students which was named in honor of Wafa Idris, the first Palestinian female suicide bomber who blew herself up in January 2002 on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, killing an 81-year old man and wounding several others. The director of the center, Ashraf Sahwil, said the decision to name the course after Idris was aimed at “emphasizing the longstanding role of Palestinian women in the struggle [against Israel]” (Jerusalem Post, August 4, 2005).

  • July 2005: While Abbas made a weak criticism of a Palestinian terror attack which killed an Israeli couple (not serving the “Palestinians’ interests”), his PA-controlled media hailed the two attackers as “martyrs” and “resistance fighters” (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2005).

  • September 2005: Abbas praised arch-terrorists Yasser Arafat, Hamas’ Ahmad Yasin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Fathi Shikaki as “martyrs” (Palestinian Media Center, September 9, 2005).

  • December 2004–January 2005: On wanted Palestinian terrorists: “heroes fighting for freedom” (Ed O’Loughlin, ‘Abbas courts Gaza militants for votes,’ Age [Melbourne], January 3, 2005). The following month, Abbas praised them further, saying, “Israel calls them murderers, we call them strugglers” (Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2004).

  • December 2004: USAID funds assisted the renovations of the Dalal Mughrabi School, named in honor of the female Palestinian terrorist leader whose group murdered the American photographer Gail Rubin and 36 Israelis in 1978 (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 14, 2004, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).

  • May 2004: A major sports center, constructed with U.S. funds, was named in honor of Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) the second-in-command of Yasser Arafat’s PLO and head of the Black September PLO terrorist sub-group, which was behind the murders of Israelis athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan (PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 30, 2004, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).

  • March 2003: The PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article commemorating the 25th anniversary of the March 11, 1978 massacre of 37 Israelis on the Tel Aviv coastal highway and the murder of American nature photographer Gail Rubin, niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT), stating, “On the morning of March 11, 1978, a woman Palestinian fighter, Dalal Mughrabi, created a legend that would be taught for many years, when she and her Fedayeen unit infiltrated the Palestinian coastal plain near Tel Aviv… Twenty-five years after this heroine’s death as a Shahida [Dying for Allah], many Palestinian women are following in her footsteps every day. Examples include Wafa Idris, [First woman suicide bomber] and Ayyat al-Akhras, [second woman suicide bomber] who performed acts of Shahada- Seeking during the blessed al-Aksa Intifada to protect the homeland. The Shahida Dalal Mughrabi shall remain one of the symbols of the Palestinian national struggle.” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 11, 2003, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

  • March 2003: The PA renamed a city square in Jenin after the first Iraqi suicide terrorist who murdered four Americans in Fallujah. An anti-American rally was also held at the time, speakers blessed the “resistance of the residents of Fallujah” and the mayor of Jenin personally attended. The new block was built with U.S. funds donated for road works to the Jenin municipality (PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 4, 2004, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch; Haaretz, March 30, 2003).

  • August 2002: A student organization at the PA’s Al-Quds Open University in Tubass was named “the Shahida Wafa Idris Cell,” after Wafa Idris, the first woman suicide bomber, whose attack in Jerusalem on Jan. 27, 2002, murdered one person and wounded over 150. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 11, 2002).

  • March 2000: The PA affiliated newspaper Al Ayyam called the 1978 Tel Aviv coastal massacre “one of the greatest successes of the struggle” (Al Ayyam, March 9, 2000).

  • January 2003: The PA-sponsored soccer tournament in the PA-ruled city of Tulkarm was named “the Tulkarm Shahids [Martyrs] Memorial soccer championship tournament of the Shahid Abd Al-Baset Odeh,” who was the suicide bomber who attacked a Netanya hotel on Passover in 2002, massacring 30 people, including a 90 year-old U.S. citizen, Mrs. Hannah Rogen. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 21, 2003, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

  • December 1996, the PA named a street in the town of Beit Lahiya after Yiyhe Ayyash (Jerusalem Post, December 17, 1996).

  • February 1996: The PA named a public square in Jericho after Yiyhe Ayyash, the master-bomb maker whose bombs killed scores of Israeli civilians. The U.S. State Department has named him as a prime suspect in the August 21, 1995 Jerusalem bus bombing in which Connecticut schoolteacher Joan Davenny was murdered. (Peace Watch Annual Report 1996; New York Daily News, April 22, 1998).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Mahmoud Abbas and the PA have a long and shocking record of glorification of terror and terrorists which demonstrates, as little else can, why he and his Fatah-backed PA are neither moderate nor peace partners. It should come as no surprise that this glorification of terror and terrorism continues when Abbas Fatah calls to this day in its Constitution for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an essential element in the campaign to achieve that goal (Article 19). 

“The record shows that within the PA, few opportunities are missed to glorify a terrorist, celebrate a suicide bomber, or inculcate Palestinian youth into worshipping cold-blooded murderers. The record also shows that all aspects of PA life — the schools, youth movements, sports teams, newspapers, TV, even the names of streets — are made vehicles for honoring and praising terrorism. This in turn breeds more terrorists and bloodshed. 

“Given this shocking record, we renew our long-standing call upon the Bush Administration to desist from ignoring the incitement to hatred and murder within the PA and to insist in talks with Abbas and other PA officials that the PA takes immediate action to comprehensively end this hate propaganda. Only when Palestinians reject the idea that it is a religious and national duty to murder Jews will there be any prospect of peace.”


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