Arab daily: Mercaz Harav attack was justified

London editor says jubilation in Gaza after attack symbolized the "courage of the Palestinian nation."

Mercaz Harav Victims 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mercaz Harav Victims 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The editor of a pan-Arab daily published in London says the terrorist attack on Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on March 6 attack was "justified" and that the religious seminary is responsible for "hatching Israeli extremists and fundamentalists." In his lead article last Sunday, Abd al-Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, chose not to condemn the shooting attack in which eight students were killed and nine were wounded, and said the celebrations in Gaza that followed symbolized the "courage of the Palestinian nation." He added that the recent violence in Gaza might "mark the countdown to Israel's destruction." "This article is alarming, since Atwan is perceived as a legitimate and unbiased analyst by the British media, and is often invited to voice his views in different media platforms," said Lior Ben-Dor, spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in London. "The problem is that when addressing the British public, he tends to hide his true opinions and ideology - his support for terror and the murder of civilians. This article reveals Atwan's real colors, a supporter of fundamentalism and terror, and hence he should be treated accordingly." In an interview on ANB Lebanese television in June, Atwan said, "If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by God, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight. "If a war breaks out, where will the Iranians retaliate? If Iran is able to retaliate, it will burn the oil wells, block the Strait of Hormuz, attack the American bases in the Gulf and, God willing, it will attack Israel, as well," he added. Atwan was born in a refugee camp in 1950. He founded the pan-Arab daily in London in 1989, and today it has a circulation of around 50,000. In 1996 he interviewed Osama bin Laden. He is a regular commentator on CNN, Sky News and BBC News. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Mike Napier, has written that Mercaz Harav is "a training center for illegal occupation, murder and Arabs to the gas chambers." The article appeared on the popular UK blog site Harry's Place. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a radical offshoot of the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Napier added: "Ala Abu Dhaim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student." In their analysis, Harry's Place wrote: "Even knowing all of this, Napier's take on the murder of eight Jewish students at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem bears some reading. His determination to cast the yeshiva as a legitimate target, and the shooting as an act of self-defense, is unmistakable. He repeatedly ascribes any and every crime of Israeli settlers to graduates of Mercaz Harav, even when the sources he cites do no such thing. The yeshiva was not, for Napier, simply a religious school of which there are many in Jerusalem, and elsewhere in the Jewish world." The blog continued: "The syllabus at the yeshiva, according to Napier, includes "contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs"; poisoning wells; and stealing the organs of non-Jews. Not the usual Talmud and Torah; or perhaps, for Napier, this is exactly what Talmud and Torah entails. For Palestine, he tells us, is in the grip of "Jewish supremacism." According to Harry's Place, Napier has repeatedly challenged the charitable status of British Jewish charities that raise money for projects in Israel. In January 2006, he marked Holocaust Memorial Week by staging a performance of Perdition, a play that alleges Zionist collusion with the Nazi Holocaust. Early this month, the Solidarity Campaign published the details of the organizers of an event scheduled with Israel Ambassador Ron Prosor at Edinburgh University. Following a number of threats, the university postponed the talk.