Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Terrorist as Role Model

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Palestinian Media Watch



The Palestinian Authority has named numerous locations and events after Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing Israeli civilians. In this special report, Palestinian Media Watch investigates the breadth of this phenomenon and to what extent it continues in 2010. Furthermore, it assesses whether this represents activities of a fringe group within society, or represents Palestinian Authority (PA) policy.


Findings

The Palestinian Authority’s March 2010 naming of a square in Ramallah after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led a terror attack that killed 37 civilians, was not an isolated incident. It is one example among many of how the PA has institutionalised incitement by systematically turning terrorists into role models.

In this report, Palestinian Media Watch documents the ongoing Palestinian Authority policy of glorifying terrorists through the naming of places and events after them, especially those responsible for the most murderous attacks. Dalal Mughrabi, whose bus hijacking killed more Israelis than any other Palestinian terror attack, has been immortalised through the naming of numerous places and events, including: Two elementary schools, a kindergarten, a computer centre, summer camps, football tournaments, a community centre, a sports team, a public square, a street, an election course, an adult education course, a university club, a dance troupe, a military unit, a dormitory in a youth centre, a TV quiz team and a graduation ceremony. And Mughrabi is just one example among many.

For this report, PMW has surveyed 100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists in order to show the scope of the phenomenon. Twenty six of the examples have been reported in the Palestinian media in 2010.

Terror glorification is highly visible in Palestinian society. A Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after the terrorist Abu Jihad, who planned the bus hijacking that killed 37, spend the day learning in a school named after Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, in the afternoon play football in a tournament named after suicide terrorist Abd al-Basset Odeh who killed 31, and end his day at a youth centre named after terrorist Abu Iyad, responsible for killing the 11 Olympic athletes in Munich. A young woman can join a university women’s club named Sisters of Dalal, after Dalal Mughrabi, attend a week at al-Quds University honouring suicide bomb builder Yahya Ayyash, and participate in university rallies named after numerous terrorists. Honouring terrorists envelops and plays a significant part in defining the Palestinian world.


Two types of incitement: Direct calls to kill vs. honouring terrorists who killed

The PA practice of honouring terrorists is a very dangerous form of incitement, because it praises the killer and the act of killing after the actual murder has taken place. When an imam on PA TV calls to kill Jews, the murder is at that point a possibility. No one has yet been killed. Honouring a suicide terrorist does not refer to a possibility, but glorifies an actual murder.

When PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas funded a computer centre named after Mughrabi, he was telling Palestinian society that killing Rebecca Hochman and her sons, six-year-old Roi and three-year-old Ilan, along with 34 other civilians, was not merely acceptable, but an act worthy of honour. When the PA Ministry of Education held a football tournament named after suicide terrorist Odeh, who killed 31, it was saying that the act of murder is what turns Palestinians into heroes. The PA’s message that terrorists are role models is as damaging to peace as it is disturbing.


Palestinian Authority leaders honour terrorists

The terror veneration that this report documents is not of a fringe group, but the policy of the PA, the Fatah party and the Palestinian leaders. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad sponsored a sports event named after Abu Jihad, who orchestrated Dalal Mughrabi’s bus hijacking and many other terror attacks, in May 2010. And Abbas, in addition to funding the computer centre named after Dalal Mughrabi in 2009, also publicly supported the naming of the square in her name in 2010.


Palestinian Authority defends policy of honouring terrorists

In response to PMW’s exposing the plans to name a square after Dalal Mughrabi, the PA defended this practice at the highest levels, acknowledging that this terror veneration is part of PA policy:

Mahmoud Abbas, PA Chairman, on naming a square after Mughrabi: “Of course I did not go myself, but I do not deny [the naming]. Of course we want to name a square after her.” [al-Hayat al-Jadida, Jan. 17, 2010]

Siham Barghouti, PA Minister of Culture, on naming a square after Mughrabi: “Honouring them in this way [by naming public places after them] is the least we can give them, and this is our right.” [al-Ayyam, Jan. 11, 2010]

Mahmoud al-Aloul, member of Fatah Central Committee, defending immortalising terrorists: “It is important to continue commemorating the memory of the Shahids (martyrs) and the Palestinian acts of heroism, and most importantly the anniversary of the martyrdom of Dalal Mughrabi, heroine of the Coastal Road operation [an attack that killed 37], which falls on March 11th”’... Al-Aloul said that Fatah has acted and continues to act to immortalise its Shahids and heroes... He added: ‘It is our right and our duty to take pride in all of the Shahids, and it is our duty to convey this message in the most direct manner to the generations to come.’” [al-Hayat al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2010]

Speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, about a street named after Abu Jihad:

“In his speech on behalf of the President [Abbas], Tayeb al-Rahim said: ‘Today we are celebrating the inauguration of a street named after the leader Abu Jihad, Prince of the Shahids... He had the honour of introducing the idea of the armed Palestinian struggle... We say that the entire [Palestinian] nation has become Abu Jihad, and that our people are proud of him. His name has been given to hospitals and schools and centres and streets. Abu Jihad did not die; he lives on in our midst. Abu Jihad is the engineer of the revolution; the first bullet.” [Emphasis added] [al-Hayat al-Jadida, April 21, 2010]


Defining a terrorist for this report

In this report, a terrorist is defined as a person who carried out, planned, organised or assisted in attacks that deliberately targeted civilians for the strategic goal of killing civilians and/or terrorising a civilian population. It does not include as a terrorist act the attacking of military or terrorist targets for the purpose of eliminating a real or perceived threat, even though civilians may have been killed. The strategic purpose is critical in the definition of terror.

Furthermore, this report does not include individuals who participated in terror activities but later turned to political activity. The many places and events named after Yasser Arafat are not included, even though he planned numerous terror attacks whose sole purpose was the killing of civilians.


Methodology

This report documents only the naming of places and events in honour of terrorists that have been cited in the PA media. PMW has not investigated all the PA schools or all street names and therefore the full extent of the phenomenon is certainly greater. In addition this report does not include the PA practice of glorifying terrorists directly through events in their honour, such as assemblies, rallies, or TV specials on anniversaries of terror attacks. For example, on the annual anniversary of Dalal Mughrabi’s bus hijacking, PA TV has broadcast many special reports, interviews and programs about her and the attack. While all this greatly compounds the problem, it is beyond the scope of this report.


Conclusion

The explicit and unmitigated rejection of terror on moral grounds is a basic condition for a sincere and lasting peace. Whereas the PA leadership has publicly committed to fight violence, this message can only be seen as insincere by their own people when numerous terrorists who murdered Israelis are repeatedly glorified by the PA leadership even in 2010. Indeed, there is no more fundamental statement of support for violence and terror than when the single act of intentionally targeting and killing Israeli civilians is enough to immortalise the name of the killer. If there is to be any chance for peace, the Palestinian leadership must convince their own people that terror is rejected - not merely because it is damaging to Palestinian interests in 2010, but because it is immoral and wrong at all times.

 

1. Permanent Structures

Attaching the name of a terrorist who killed civilians to permanent structures such as schools, streets and sports stadiums has a lasting and reinforcing effect on Palestinian society, because the message supporting murder is continuous. Yahya Ayyash Street, a main street in Ramallah, is passed by hundreds of people daily. This creates continuous reinforcement of the message that the man behind Palestinian suicide terror which targeted and killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians - is worthy of honour. This section lists 20 schools and more than 20 other permanent structures named after terrorists in the Palestinian Authority, as reported in the Palestinian media.


a. These terrorists have schools named after them:

Abu Ali Mustafa - General Secretary of the terror organisation “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PLFP). Planned numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians during the Palestinian terror war (the “Intifada”).

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) - A founder of Fatah and Head of the “Black September” terror group. Attacks he planned included the murder of two American diplomats, as well as the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir) - A founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. Headed the PLO terror organisation’s military wing. Planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks, including the worst in Israeli history, the hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Ahmad Yassin - The founder of the Hamas movement.

Dalal Mughrabi - Led the worst terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978, when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Hassan Salameh - Commander of operations of the “Black September” terror group. He planned the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Izz a-Din al-Qassam - Led a Muslim terror group in British Mandate Palestine. The Hamas terror wing is named after him – the “Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.”

Kamal Adwan - A senior Fatah leader in the 1960s and 1970s, was in charge of Fatah’s terror attacks into Israel and attacks against Israeli targets outside of Israel.

Osama al-Najjar - Spokesman of Fatah’s “al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades,” whose suicide terror attacks during the recent Palestinian terror war (the “second Intifada”), killed hundreds.

Saad Sayel - A senior Fatah commander, led the terrorist forces that were based in Lebanon during the early 1980s.

Saddam Hussein - President of Iraq, found guilty of crimes against humanity, was executed by a special Iraqi tribunal.

Shadia Abu Ghazaleh - Among the first Palestinian women terrorists. Participated in blowing up an Israeli bus. Died while preparing a bomb.


b. These terrorists have streets, buildings and neighbourhoods named after them:

Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) – see above.

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) – see above.

Ali al-Naamani - The first suicide bomber in Iraq. He killed four US soldiers.

Al-Moayed Bihokmillah al-Agha - A suicide terrorist who murdered five in 2004.

Dalal Mughrabi – see above.

Saddam Hussein – see above.

Thabet Thabet - A founder of Tanzim (Fatah terror group) responsible for drive-by shooting and many other attacks during the recent terror war (the “second Intifada”).

Yahya Ayyash - First Hamas suicide bomb builder, and seen as founder of Palestinian suicide terror. Attacks he launched killed dozens of Israelis, injuring hundreds.


c.These terrorists have sports facilities named after them:

Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir) – see above.

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) - see above.

Fathi Shaqaqi - Founder of Islamic Jihad that carried out more than 1,000 terror attacks, killing approximately 150 and wounding about 950, including a suicide attack in 2002 that killed 21.

Jamal Ghanem - Fatah member, involved in terrorist activities for a number of years.

Rafik a-Salmi - Fatah member involved in terror activities in the 1980s.

Tareq al-Qato – Football player and al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terrorist sniper.


2. Events and Ceremonies

Naming such events and ceremonies as summer camps, sports tournaments, educational courses and graduation ceremonies after terrorists teaches the events’ participants to see people who deliberately killed and wounded civilians as role models and heroes. Children are proud to play for specific sports teams and to belong to specific clubs, and team and club names are associated with great pride. When a football team is named after terrorist Abu Jihad, who planned many terror attacks, that name instills pride in the child playing on that team. The terrorist’s name becomes synonymous with honour and glory.

This report lists more than 50 events and ceremonies named after terrorists in the Palestinian Authority, as reported in the Palestinian media.


a. These terrorists have sports tournaments and events named after them:

Abdallah Daoud - Responsible for many terror attacks. Was one of the terrorists who stormed Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002, continuing to fight against Israel for several weeks while using the monks and the religious site as shields.

Abd al-Basset Odeh - Suicide terrorist who murdered 31 and injured 140 at the Passover Seder in 2002, known as the “Passover Eve Massacre.”

Abu Ali Iyad - Fatah military commander. He led terror attacks in the Israeli towns Beit Yosef, Margaliot, Manara, and Kfar Giladi.

Abu Ali Mustafa - see above.

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) - see above.

Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir) - see above.

Baha Sa’id - Terrorist who killed two Israeli soldiers and injured another in an attack in 2000.

Dalal Mughrabi - see above.

Fathi Shaqaqi - see above.

Hassan Salameh - see above.

Ibrahim al-Makadmeh – One of the founders of Hamas’ military wing, responsible for planning several attacks that killed 28 Israelis.

Ihab Abu Salim - A suicide terrorist who murdered nine and injured 19 in 2003.

Izz a-Din al-Qassam - see above.

Jamal Mansour - see above.

Jihad al-Amarin - Founder of Fatah suicide terror branch, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Was responsible for the murder of many Israelis.

Muhammad Farahat - A member of Hamas who killed five students in a terror attack on a school in 2002.

Muhammad Ghassan Liftawi - Behind suicide bombings and shooting attacks in Israel in which many civilians were killed and injured. He was on Israel’s list of most-wanted terrorists.

Mahmoud Marmash - Suicide terrorist who murdered five and injured 74 in 2001.

Raed Karmi - Head of Fatah’s suicide bombing wing and a local al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade commander.

Saddam Hussein - see above.

Salah Shehadeh - One of the founders and head of the military wing of Hamas in Gaza. Was responsible for many terror attacks including an attack on a high school that killed five students.

Samir Kuntar - A Lebanese terrorist who murdered four Israelis in 1979, including a child whose head he crushed with his rifle after murdering her father in front of her.

Tareq Abu Safaka - Suicide terrorist who murdered three in 2002.

Tareq al-Qato – see above.

Thabet Thabet - see above.

Yahya Ayyash - see above.

Ziyad Da’as - Fatah-Tanzim commander who planned the bat mitzvah attack in 2002 in which a terrorist killed six. Also behind the kidnapping and murder of two Israelis in 2001.


b. These terrorists have summer camps named after them:

Ayyat al-Akhras - 17 year-old suicide terrorist, the youngest Palestinian female suicide terrorist. Her bombing killed two Israelis in a Jerusalem supermarket in 2002.

Azmi a-Sreir - Military commander in Fatah “Western Sector” terror apparatus in Lebanon in the 1970s. Helped prepare Dalal Mughrabi’s attack in 1978, when terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and the 1975 attack on the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Dalal Mughrabi - see above.

Jihad al-Amarin - see above.

Raed Karmi - see above.

Wafa Idris - First female Palestinian suicide terrorist. Her suicide attack killed one and wounded 100 in 2002.


The above is excerpted from a longer report by Palestinian Media Watch which was released to the US Congress on May 6, and introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman, Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and Congressman Steve Rothman, member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The full report – including full citations of sources and locations of the various schools, summer camps, sporting facitilities etc named – is available at www.palwatch.org. © Palestinian Media Watch, reprinted by permission all rights reserved.