Dalal Mughrabi was a 19 year old female terrorist who led the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history – the Coastal Road Massacre of 1978. Mughrabi and her squad of terrorists came down from Lebanon via the Mediterranean by raft; they landed on the beach south of Haifa. First they killed American nature photographer Gail Rubin, and then they hijacked a bus. Ultimately, 38 innocent Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were murdered before Mughrabi herself was shot.
March 11, 2010 marked the 32nd anniversary of this horrendous event, and the Palestinian Authority was not about to let it pass. Thus was the decision made to name a square after Mughrabi in the township of El-Bireh, which is immediately adjacent to Ramallah in Samaria (the West Bank).
All of this made news in Israel, if not in the United States; it was certainly the topic of discussion on various websites — most notably that of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
While the honoring of a terrorist is inherently abhorrent to the Western mind, a closer look at precisely how this particular terrorist was honored by the presumably “moderate” Palestinian Authority provides insight into precisely how obscene the current situation truly is.
A host of individuals associated with the PA, and in positions of leadership, went on record — in Arabic, of course — praising Mughrabi and defending their right to honor her. We can understand nothing until we see what has been said in Arabic, to the people: The talk, consistently, is of Dalal Mughrabi as shahida: martyrSecretary-General of the Presidency, Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, for example, on March 9, praised Mughrabi and other terrorists who “turned their blood into a bridge over which we pass on the way to our freedom, independence and national liberation from the burden of the occupation.” (PMW translated this from the Arabic text of the PA daily “Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.”)
Most stunning however, was an interview of Dalal's sister, Rashida, which ran on PA TV on the day that the square was inaugurated. In part, she said:
This is a day of glory and pride for our Palestinian people and a blow to the Zionists, who view it as a day of blood for them… Before she set out for the operation and fell as a shahida, Dalal left a message for our father, a will to all of our brother fighters, to point the rifles – all the rifles – at the Zionist enemy… And if people have not taken note of her will, let them now take note that we must unite, and our rifles must unite, against the enemy who steals our land, and not against one another…
Dalal is a source of pride for the Palestinian woman. It is our right to honor her… (PMW translation)
It must be noted that Palestinian Authority TV runs under the administrative authority of the president, Mahmoud Abbas.
As it happens, Vice President Joe Biden was in the area at this time, and in Ramallah, meeting with Abbas, the day before the inauguration of the square. There had been Israeli protests to Biden and others in the Obama administration with regard to what was being planned by the PA, and the PA had responded by suggesting that the ceremony would be cancelled or postponed.
What actually happened was a ruse: the “official” ceremony was not held, and instead Fatah orchestrated a “popular” event at which the square was named. A large banner was held aloft during the inauguration, which read: “On the anniversary of the Coastal Road Operation we renew our commitment and our oath that we uphold the charge and that we will not stray from the path of the shahids.” (PMW translation from “Al-Quds” of March 12)
The furor that ensued during this same time period because the Jerusalem municipality announced plans to build 1,600 apartment units in Ramat Shlomo is well known. Biden, who was in Israel when the announcement was made, declared himself grievously insulted, and the Obama administration subsequently went ballistic. Israel, it was said, was undermining chances for peace.
But where was the charge that the blatant and offensive incitement in which the PA was engaged was an obstacle to peace? Where was the expression of injury from Biden, the outrage from Clinton, the anguished fury from Obama? The Palestinian Authority was given a pass.
When Prime Minister Netanyahu was at the White House shortly thereafter (and received with enormous condescension), he was given a list of “demands” that, according to reports, included more “conciliatory gestures” to the PA. Gestures. To an entity whose intentions towards Israel are clearly malevolent and non-peaceful.
No further proof is necessary: The world is mad.
Arlene Kushner is senior analyst for the Center for Near East Policy Research in Jerusalem, as well as an author/journalist. Her regular postings can be found at arlenefromisrael.info