Despite the Palestinian Authority’s announcement that it had postponed the inauguration of a square in el-Bireh 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 were wounded, Fatah officials on Thursday evening went ahead with the ceremony.

In addition, the PA on Sunday launched a seminar named after Mughrabi. The four-day seminar, called “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp,” is being held in Jericho under the auspices of the PA’s Military Science Academy. Its main goal is to discuss the legislative and local elections in the PA territories.

About 120 university students from the West Bank are participating in the conference.

The seminar is being held on the 32nd anniversary of the Coastal Road attack and is seen more as a rally in honor of Mughrabi than as an academic seminar.

The PA said on Thursday that the square-naming ceremony that took place was not an official event, but rather a “popular rally” organized by local residents and Fatah supporters.

On Thursday morning, Adnan Dumairi, a senior PA security official, announced that the official ceremony to name the square after Mughrabi had been delayed for “technical reasons.” Dumairi denied that the decision to put off the ceremony was related to pressure from Israel and the US.

However, in the evening, dozens of Palestinians gathered at the site, where Fatah leaders officially announced that the square had been named after Mughrabi.

A local Fatah official claimed that the decision to go ahead with the ceremony was taken without coordination with the PA.


“The Palestinian Authority canceled the official ceremony because they were afraid of [US Vice President] Joe Biden,” he said. “But the Palestinian leadership couldn’t prevent Palestinian residents and Fatah from holding their own celebration to honor this great woman for her sacrifices and heroism.”

The 1978 bus hijacking on the Coastal Road was the deadliest terrorist attack ever perpetrated against Israel. Planned by Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir) and carried out by Fatah, it was aimed at halting peace talks between Israel and Egypt.

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