The Palestinian Authority announced on Thursday that it has postponed the inauguration of a square named after Dalal Mughrabi, the Fatah woman who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 Israeli civilians and an American photographer were killed and 71 people were wounded.
The new square, located in El-Bireh, Ramallah’s twin city, was supposed to be inaugurated on Thursday in a ceremony that was to be attended by senior PA and Fatah officials in the West Bank.
Adnan Dumairi, a senior PA security official, said that the ceremony had been delayed for “technical reasons.” He denied that the decision was the result of Israeli and American pressure.
The square was scheduled to be named after Mughrabi on the 32nd anniversary of the attack.
“No one in the world can prevent the Palestinians from being proud of their history and heritage,” Dumairi said. “This history and heritage is part of our life.”
He said that “had it not been for the blood and sacrifices of martyrs like Mughrabi, the Palestinians would not have been able to reach peace agreements and other achievements.”
Asked if Israel had threatened to attack the site, the top PA official said, “We haven’t received any messages of threat. This is the square of Dalal Mughrabi and Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad [slain PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir] and [slain Hamas founder] Ahmed Yassin. Our squares will continue to bear the names of our martyrs and will forever be inscribed in the memories of our children.”
Dumairi claimed that the PA had nothing to do with plans to honor Mughrabi by naming the square after her. He said the decision to inaugurate the square was made by Fatah officials who wanted to honor her for her “sacrifices.”
“Dalal Mughrabi was one of their fighters,” he said. “That’s why faith wanted to honor her. But in the end the ceremony was postponed for technical reasons.”
Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a former PA security commander, hailed Mughrabi, who died in the 1978 attack, as a freedom fighter who sacrificed her life for her people and her homeland.
“We are all projects of martyrdom like Mughrabi,” he said. “We are all Mughrabi.”
Mughrabi was not a terrorist, Tirawi said.
“Just yesterday, the Israeli prime minister honored some murderers and
terrorists,” he claimed without elaborating. “Fatah won’t abandon its
martyrs and sons or its history of which it’s proud.”
The PA Ministry of Information condemned Israeli “attempts to prevent
the inauguration of the new square carrying the name of martyr Dalal
Israel’s efforts “violated Palestinian sovereignty and the Palestinian
people’s right to honor their national symbols,” the ministry said.