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Arafat and PLO Officials Attend Rallies Glorifying Terrorists as “Martyrs”

Donderdag, November 13, 1997 / Last Modified: Zondag, Januari 14, 2018

November 13, 1997

The Zionist Organization of America is urging the Clinton
administration to condemn Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority for
authorizing, and in some cases taking part in, a week-long series of public
rallies glorifying Arab terrorists as “martyrs.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Instead of urging the
Palestinian Arabs to live in peace with Israel and reject terrorism –as
the Oslo accords require– Arafat is again encouraging terrorism by authorizing
the public glorification of terrorists as ‘martyrs’.”

The ZOA president pointed out that some of the rallies specifically
praised and glorified terrorists who murdered American citizens. “Should
the U.S. continue sending $100-million each year to those who praise the
killers of Americans?” Klein asked.

  • Arafat Leads Rally for “Martyred Fighter.” Arafat personally
    presided over a memorial rally for “the martyred fighter, Salah al-Qidwa,”
    in Gaza on November 3. PLO Executive Committee member Zakaria al-Agha,
    speaking at the rally on behalf of Arafat, declared “we still remember the martyrs
    and still follow their path.” Amad Hils, Secretary-General of the Higher
    Committee of Arafat’s Fatah movement, told the rally that Yiyhe Ayyash (the Hamas
    bomb-maker who killed at least 60 Israelis) and Imad Aql (the first
    commander of Hamas’s military wing) were “holy martyrs.”
  • Memorial Rally for Killer of Americans. Arafat permitted a mass
    “memorial service” at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah,
    for “the holy martyr” Halil Ibrahim Toufik Sharif, on October 30.

    Sharif was involved in the May 1996 drive-by murder of David Boim, an
    American-Israeli teenager; Sharif was also one of the three suicide bombers
    who carried out the attack on Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda Street on September 4,
    1997, in which five people were killed, including a 14 year-old American-Israeli
    schoolgirl, Yael Botwin.

    Arafat also permitted Bir Zeit University to hold three days of
    official mourning for Sharif, during which all classes were suspended.

  • Salaries for Jailed Terrorists. Jawad al-Tibi, chairman of the
    Social Affairs Committee for Arafat’s Palestinian Legislative Council,
    visited Arab terrorists in Israeli prisons on October 30. Tibi announced that his
    committee “will act to implement the Legislative Council’s decision, which
    states that each prisoner should receive an income identical to that of a
    soldier.
  • Memorial Rallies for Islamic Jihad Leader.
    Arafat permitted the Islamic Jihad terrorist group to hold a mass
    public rally in Gaza on October 31, to commemorate the “martyrdom” of
    Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki. An official representative of Arafat’s Fatah
    faction of the PLO, Fareeh al-Gharabli, spoke at the rally and urged unity
    between the PLO and “the Islamic forces and factions.” Jamil al-Majdalawi,
    representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a PLO
    faction, told the rally that Shikaki was “a holy martyr.” At the rally, Islamic
    Jihad spokesman Ramadan Shalah declared that “the option of resistance is
    legitimate,” and Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin urged the audience to
    “follow the path of the holy martyrs.” Their statements were published in the
    official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeedah.

    Arafat also permitted 3,000 students at A-Najah University, in
    PLO-controlled Nablus, to hold a memorial rally for Shikaki. Islamic Jihad
    spokesman Ramadan Shalah told the rally by telephone that the group “will
    continue its jihad against the Zionist enemy. His statement was published
    in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeedah.

  • Fatah Rally for “Martyrs.” The youth wing of Arafat’s Fatah
    movement held a public memorial service to commemorate “the martyrdom of
    Osama al-Najjar and Anwar Asleih,” two Fatah Hawk terrorists. The rally, held in
    Khan Yunis (Gaza) on November 3, was attended by PLO Executive Committee
    member Zakaria al-Agha and the deputy chairman of the PLO’s Political Guidance
    Direcorate, Mazen Izz al-Din.
  • Hebron Rally for Islamic Jihad “Martyr.” Arafat permitted a
    mass rally at the Islamic University of Hebron in
    commemoration of the “martyrdom” of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki, on
    November 3. Representatives of Arafat’s Fatah movement and another PLO
    faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, spoke at the
    rally. Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah, addressing the rally by telephone,
    “renewed the oath to the martyrs to follow their path.”

    (All translations courtesy of Palestinian Media Review.)

In a related development, Marwan Barghouti, chairman of Arafat’s
Fatah movement for the Judea-Samaria regions, called the late Hamas bomb-maker
Yiyhe Ayyash “a martyr.” In an interview with the Israeli news agency IMRA on
November 6, 1997, Barghouti was asked why Arafat and representatives of
Arafat’s Fatah movement take part in memorial services for Ayyash and other
terrorists. He replied that “it is a tradition” and “we appreciate these
people as persons and individuals and consider them martyrs.”

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