A Channel 10 news crew, headed by correspondent Shlomi Eldar, was detained and later expelled by Palestinian Authority police in Ramallah last Wednesday. It had filmed the street where the PA’s new presidential compound is being erected but irked the local constabulary when its cameramen focused on the street-sign bearing the name of arch-terrorist Yihye Ayash.
During the 1990s, Ayash gained notoriety as “the engineer.” His professional specialty was rigging explosives designed to take as many lives as possible. Primarily Ayash was an anti-Oslo saboteur, a fact which ought to make it doubly strange that the present Ramallah regime would even consider honoring him.
The basis upon which the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas at all exists, and purportedly negotiates peace on occasion, is the 1993 Oslo Accords. Yet hot on the heels of the celebration of the Oslo deal on the White House lawn, Israel was rocked by one of the bloodiest spates of terrorism to date. During 1994, 1995 and 1996 hundreds of Israelis were murdered in explosions on buses and crowded locales in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Hadera and elsewhere. Many of these attacks were Ayash’s handiwork.
That Ayash would be honored in any fashion is an affront to the very notion of coexistence and a gross violation of the Oslo premise. That he would be honored on so central a street –housing so consequential an official edifice – adds even more insult to injury. There is no way the PA can remotely wash its hands of this glorification of one of the worst of all perpetrators of terrorist atrocities.
The commemorative plaque for Ayash openly notes his membership in the Izzadin el-Kassam brigades (the Hamas military wing) and claims Israel assassinated him due to “allegations” of terror. Ayash died when his cellphone exploded in early 1996.
During his recent visit, US Vice President Joe Biden secured Abbas’s solemn pledge to desist from such exaltation of terrorist icons. Planned to coincide with Biden’s visit was a ceremony to name a central El Bireh square after Dalal Mughrabi, member of the gang which hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road in 1978, murdering 37. Under pressure, Abbas cancelled the ceremony.
However, to put it mildly, he was insincere. The ceremony did take place but under Fatah auspices instead of PA sponsorship. With Fatah being the key component of the PA regime, the difference is deceptive.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently paid condolence visits to family members mourning 2002’s Church of the Nativity invader Abdallah Daud, the three murderers of Avshalom Meir Chai and a terrorist who attempted to stab a soldier. He extolled them all as “martyrs.”
THIS IS no new twist of the plot but consistent policy. Back in 2008, Abbas handpicked five female recipients for the PLO’s highest medal of heroism. Three had been foiled in their homicidal attempts. Not so the two stars.
Amana Mona lured 16-year-old Ofir Rahum via Internet chats to a cruel death on January 17, 2001. Ahlan Tamimi planned the August 9, 2001 attack on Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria and drove the suicide bomber to the destination where he killed 15 persons, including seven children and five members of a single family.
The inescapable message is that such crimes are the PA’s ideal. Hence it acclaims malevolence instead of denouncing it.
Since the PA derives its very legitimacy from Oslo, one would logically suppose that it would seek to eradicate any vestige of veneration for the terrorists who set out to violently undermine the very foundation of accommodation. That indeed would be the minimum we would expect of peace partners, as the symbolic prelude to a no-holds barred fight against terror and against incitement to terror.
Yet not only is Abbas’s PA not living up to this most minimal of
expectations, it is actively and consistently engaged in promoting
precisely the opposite. By actually locating the Fatah-led governmental
hub on a street named for a Hamas mass-murderer, the PA seems to signal
unequivocally where its heart is.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu was right to urge last week that the international community
“forcefully condemn official Palestinian incitement for terrorism and
against peace.” Our misfortune is that the world’s outrage is very
selective and very misplaced.