Imagine if President Barack Obama gave an award to James Holmes, the shooter who slaughtered 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. Well, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas just did the next best thing.
On May 28, Abbas awarded the “Military Star of Honor” to Ms. Fatima Barnawi, who planted a bomb in a Jerusalem movie theater in 1967. Miraculously, the bomb was discovered and defused. Both Barnawi and Holmes had the same intention: to slaughter innocent civilians. The only difference between them is that the Colorado gunman was more successful.
This is actually the second time in recent weeks that Abbas has heaped honors upon this particular would-be mass murderer. Abbas marked “Palestinian Prisoners Day,” April 17, by bestowing a medal on Barnawi, who was the first woman Fatah terrorist captured by the Israelis.
Barnawi was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted massacre. But she was released after 10 years as a “gesture” in honor of the visit to Israel of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. After the establishment of the PA in 1994, Barnawi was rewarded with the position of chief of the women’s section of the PA police.
The PA’s official television station, reporting on May 28 about the latest honor, read Abbas’s praise of Barnawi, “the first female prisoner of the revolution of modern Palestine… in appreciation for her pioneering role in the struggle, her sacrifice for her homeland and her people, and its revolution, and her willingness to give from the beginning until now.”
Interviewed on PA TV a few weeks earlier, on May 9, Barnawi made it clear that she does not have the slightest regret about trying to slaughter innocent Jewish civilians. Her only regret, it seems, is that she was not successful at it.
“I was ready,” she said proudly. “All my life I had dreamed about it. We took the bomb and went to the cinema… I told [my sister] ‘come with me,’ as if it’s a trip… We entered the cinema and sat down. We were supposed to place the explosives in the restroom or under one of the seats. I put them where we sat, near the middle [of the theater]… It was almost time. We left… While we were leaving, the bomb was discovered. An American sitting behind us said: ‘The ladies forgot their bag.’ The usher came to take the bag and found a ticking clock. There were only seconds left [until the explosion]. He called them [security]. They moved the people away and blew it up at the entrance… I say, this is not a failure, because it generated fear throughout the world. Every woman who carries a bag needs to be checked before she enters the supermarket, any place, cinemas and pharmacies… I don’t define that as a failure.”
The PA TV host chimed in, “That is certainly not a failure. It is a success for the Palestinian resistance that went into the heart of the Israeli occupation, into the cinema and created a state of panic, because [since then] they’ve taken extra precautions when each person enters a cinema or any public place.”
Obama seems to think that the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East is an Israeli family building another porch on a house in Jerusalem that is slightly beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. But is it just possible that a PA which openly glorifies and encourages terrorism against Israelis is the real obstacle to peace? And could it be that the Obama administration’s policy of giving the PA a $500-million blank check each year is therefore not the wisest move?
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.