(August 21, 2018 / MEMRI)
In the past few months, Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah officials, headed by PA President Mahmoud ‘Abbas, have continued to hold events and receptions honoring terrorists who carried out attacks, including against Israeli civilians, primarily during the period of the Second Intifada. These activities have included meetings with released prisoners, awards and decorations for prisoners’ and martyrs’ families, praise for the mothers of terrorists and martyrs, condolence calls to the families of terrorists, participation in ceremonies in memory of martyrs, and more.
This report will present examples from the recent months of PA and Fatah support, both institutional and moral, for terrorists and for the armed struggle against Israel.
‘Abbas: The Martyrs And Prisoners Are ‘Stars In The Sky Of The Palestinian People’s Struggle’; We Will Continue To Compensate Their Families
In recent months, PA President Mahmoud ‘Abbas frequently participated in events at which he expressed support for prisoners and martyrs. On July 23, 2018, at a Ramallah ceremony honoring Palestinian prisoners and martyrs, during which he awarded medals to the families of the martyred prisoners and to released prisoners, he referred to the martyrs and prisoners as “pioneers” and “stars in the sky of the Palestinian people’s struggle” who “have a top priority in everything,” and stated that the payments to them and to their families would continue. He said: “We will neither reduce nor withhold the allowances of the families of martyrs, prisoners, and released prisoners, as some want [us to do]; if we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners.” Fatah Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub described the prisoners as the sector “that has been the most important and vital in confronting the occupation for the past 51 years.”
Fatah, Headed By Mahmoud ‘Abbas, Fetes Released Prisoners, Including One Responsible For Shootings, Suicide Attack During Second Intifada
On April 23, 2018 ‘Abbas met with a group of released prisoners who had been incarcerated in Israeli prisons for 15 years or more. One of them was Rafat Al-Jawabra, a former commander in Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, in Bethlehem, who was responsible for a series of shootings and for a suicide attack in the Jewish settlement of Efrat during the Second Intifada. Al-Jawabra was jailed in 2002, and was released in late 2017 after serving a 15-year sentence. Following his release, Mahmoud ‘Abbas and Fatah held a festive reception for Al-Jawabra who, while still in prison, was elected to head the local council of the West Bank village of Al-Doha. During the reception, ‘Abbas congratulated the released prisoners, saying that “the problem of the prisoners is the problem of the entire Palestinian people… The subject of the prisoners is a top priority for the Palestinian leadership, which invests every possible effort with international organizations and institutions and with the international community in order to ensure their release from the prisons of the Israeli occupation so that they will participate in the building of the independent Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem.”
‘Abbas Meets With Mother Of Six Terrorists; Fatah Official: She Is The Model For Palestinian Mothers – We Are Proud Of Her
On April 25, 2018, ‘Abbas met with Latifa Abu Hmeid (Umm Nasser), who has been dubbed “the Al-Khansa’ of Palestine,” the mother of six terrorists, members of Hamas and Fatah, who were involved in shooting and suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. One of them, ‘Abd Al-Mun’im, was active in the Hamas military wing, the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, and was killed by Israel. He assisted in the murder of three Israelis in the West Bank on December 14, 1990, and the murder of another Israeli on February 13, 1994.
Four other sons are serving consecutive life sentences in Israeli prisons: Nasser, one of the founders of the Fatah military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, was a deputy to Marwan Barghouti, Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank during the Second Intifada, and took an active part in the lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah on October 12, 2000. He is serving seven consecutive life sentences and an additional 50 years for the murder of seven Israelis and 12 additional attempted murders. Sharif, was active in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and supplied weapons and assistance for the execution of terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during February and March 2002.
He is serving four consecutive life sentences. Muhammad is serving two consecutive life sentences plus 30 years for planning suicide attacks for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. A fourth son, Nasr, was active with Nasser in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for planning suicide attacks.
During the meeting, Latifa praised ‘Abbas for “his support of prisoners and his close tending of their families.” An article in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quoted ‘Abbas as saying: “There will be no peace agreement without the release of all the prisoners and detainees… For the issue of the prisoners is the heart of the conflict, and Israel is trying to wage war against us through our children.” ‘Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, who was also present at the meeting, said, “Umm Nasser [Abu] Hmeid is the mother of five prisoners, and she is ‘the Al-Khansa’ of Palestine.’ She is a woman of virtues and willpower of whom we are proud as a symbol of the women of Palestine.”
On June 17, 2018, Zaki paid an ‘Eid Al-Fitr visit to Latifa Abu Hmeid at her home, after another son of hers, Islam Abu Hmeid, was arrested on suspicion of murdering Israeli soldier Ronen Lubarsky by dropping a marble slab on him from a building at the Al-Am’ari refugee camp. Islam Abu Hmeid had already spent five years in prison, from 2004 to 2009, for a shooting attack he had carried out on behalf of Hamas. Zaki praised Latifa, saying: “This mother, who with steadfastness and forbearance has borne suffering that even mountains cannot bear, and who has sacrificed her heroic sons for the homeland… This mother is the crown on all our heads, and she is a model for Palestinian mothers, and we bow before her willpower and her determination.”
On June 11, 2018, Latifa Abu Hmeid was visited by Dr. Laila Ghanam, governor of Ramallah and Al-Bireh district. On June 18, in an interview on Palestinian TV, Dr. Ghanam stressed that “our people, on the official and popular level, will stand alongside this [i.e. Latifa’s] fighting family.”
It should be noted that this is not the first time ‘Abbas has met with Latifa Abu Hmeid, and that it is also not the first time that Fatah, which ‘Abbas heads, has publicly expressed support for the mothers of terrorists.
‘Abbas Mourns Death Of Mother Of 11 Terrorists; Fatah: She Was ‘A Role Model Of Sacrifice And Martyrdom’
On July 22, 2018, ‘Abbas phoned released prisoner Talal Abu Leil, of the Balata refugee camp, to convey his condolences for the death of his mother Fatima (Umm Mahyoub) Abu Leil, who is likewise dubbed “the Khansa’ of Palestine” and “Mother of the Martyrs,” because five of her sons died as martyrs and six more have been incarcerated in Israeli prisons. One of them, Hussein Mustafa Abu Leil, received five life sentences plus 50 years for planning and carrying out terror operations, including suicide attacks, as a commander in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. It should be noted that, in 2015, ‘Abbas awarded the Al-Quds medal to the Abu Leil family.
Fatah also issued an obituary for Fatima Abu Leil, stressing that she was “a paragon of womanhood and motherhood, a steadfast jihad fighter and… an inspiration and a role model of sacrifice and martyrdom.”
Read the full report at MEMRI here.