Fatah youth center names event after suicide bomber

Sports event to take place near Ramallah named after Wafa Idris, the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide bombing.

Suicide Bomber Terrorist 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Suicide Bomber Terrorist 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Fatah-affiliated youth center in the Ama’ari refugee camp south of Ramallah has named a sports event after female suicide bomber Wafa Idris.
In announcing the event, the youth center used the acronym for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, but not its logo.
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According to UNRWA, the organization has no connection to the youth center or the tournament.
Idris was the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide bombing. In the attack outside a shoe store on the capital’s Jaffa Road on January 27, 2002, an 81- year-old man was killed and 150 people were wounded.
Idris’s attack was later endorsed by Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
This is not the first time that a youth center has named a tournament after a “martyr.”
The information about the tournament was first publicized by Palestinian Media Watch. It said that an UNRWA youth center had named the soccer tournament after Idris.
UNRWA immediately denied the allegation.
Its spokesman, Chris Gunness, said Palestinian Media Watch should have noted the absence of the UNRWA logo from the flyer for the tournament.
The author of the flyer had placed UNRWA’s acronym on it without authorization and the absence of the logo was a testament to that fact, Gunness said.
UNRWA has since spoken with the youth center and asked that the acronym be removed from the flyer, he said.
“The allegation that an UNRWA youth center had named an event after a suicide bomber is patently false, as UNRWA has not run youth centers in the West Bank for over 10 years,” Gunness added.
“UNRWA calls on Palestinian Media Watch to check such allegations before publishing them.
“This is the second time that Palestinian Media Watch has made baseless and damaging allegations against UNRWA over the naming of a sporting event.
A similar accusation was made about a year ago when, after an UNRWA investigation, it was demonstrated that the Palestinian Media Watch allegations were completely without foundation and Palestinian Media Watch was forced to remove the allegations from its website,” he said.
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, said, “The Palestinian Authority has a long history of glorifying terrorists and presenting them as role models for children. PMW has documented this ongoing policy of the PA to name sporting events, summer camps, buildings and more after terrorists.
“This soccer tournament named after suicide bomber Wafa Idris is just one more example.
“PMW is very disappointed that UNRWA is condemning the messenger, PMW, and not condemning the Al- Am’ari Youth Center.
UNRWA should be condemning the youth center, first and foremost, for sponsoring a soccer tournament named after a suicide terrorist,” Marcus said.
“PMW believes that it is important that UNRWA, which is so actively involved in so many aspects of Palestinian life, take an active role in fighting against this culture of hate and terror glorification promoted by the PA,” he said.
He added that his organization was waiting for UNRWA to condemn the event.