Zionist Organization of America News release, February 23, 2004.
In classic Palestinian Authority double-speak, the PA has told the
Western media that it “condemns” the latest Palestinian Arab bus
bombing in which eight Jews were massacred while praising the
bomber as a “martyr” to Arab audiences.
The PA issued a statement to the Western media in which it
“condemned” the bombing, while equating it with Israeli self-defense
actions: “The Palestinian leadership condemns the blast and
absolutely condemns the killing of all civilians, whether Israelis or
But Prof. Michael Widlanski of Hebrew University reports that the
PA’s official “Voice of Palestine” radio station “referred to the man
who committed the bombing of the bus in Jerusalem yesterday as a
martyr (‘shahid’) in their news programs. They treated him royally
both yesterday and today.
‘Shahid’ is an honorary term given to someone who dies in battle. It
is not conferred to a criminal. If the act was considered a criminal
act then he would not be termed a martyr ‘shahid’ … yesterday’s
bombing was repeatedly described on VOP as ‘an explosive
operation’ without any negative terminology associated with it.
In sharp contrast, the announcement of the demolition of the
‘martyr’s house’ by the IDF was termed ‘barbaric’ with VOP urging
Palestinians to come out of their houses to show resistance to the
‘racist Israeli threats’.
At 6:00 PM last night, right before the main evening news program
last night, PA TV broadcast film clips openly encouraging attacks
against Israelis. For example, they ran a clip of a small child no older
than 6 or 7 years old singing to himself ‘by stone or by knife I will
attack the enemy.’
The clip was several minutes long and this chorus was
repeated many times.”
Meanwhile, Israel Radio reports that Yasir Arafat’s Fatah sponsored a
mass rally in Jenin to praise the massacre as “a heroic military
operation.” Candies were distributed as part of the celebration.
Did the Palestinian Prime Minister really condemn the bus
By Micah Halpern, The Media Line, February 25, 2004.
Moments after the most recent of the brutal bus bombings targeted
against Israelis, the one that has so far claimed eight innocent lives
and wounded over 60, the Palestinian prime minister issued a
In three terse sentences, this is what Ahmad Qurei’, better known as
Abu ‘Ala, said.
Sentence # 1:
“We denounce this act which was carried out by Palestinians and
which harmed innocent civilians.”
Sentence # 2:
“This attack caused damage to Palestinian interests generally, and it
was particularly due to its timing, prior to the discussions
of the International Court of Justice in the Hague.”
Sentence # 3:
“We call on the government of Israel to take immediate steps to
attain a cease-fire, and to put an end to the violence.”
The statement was not intended for internal Palestinian or Arab
world distribution. It was a formal statement sent to the foreign and
Israeli press corps. It was issued for diplomatic purposes so that the
United States and Europe could see that Palestinian leadership had
officially denounced the terrorist attack.
But did they really?
Ever since he was appointed, I have been following the statements
and evaluating the message sent out by Prime Minister Qurei. I have
yet to figure out why he has not yet even been called to task, let
alone censured by the international community, for his absurd public
Let’s analyze the official Palestinian reaction to an act of terror
carried out by a Palestinian suicide bomber within Israel.
On first read, the first sentence sounds as if it really is a total
rejection of the bus bombing. The words “denounce” and “innocent”
are used, even if “bus” or “suicide” are not.
But also missing are several very important words, words that
would have made the statement more meaningful like “terror”,
“horror”, “murder”, “killed”, words that would have been appropriate
to the context of the “act” which was after all, a bomb that not just
“harmed” but murdered eight people.
The second sentence uncovers the motivation behind the statement.
The PA is not expressing a rejection of the murder of innocents
because it is intrinsically wrong, rather, they “denounce this act”
only because it damages Palestinian interests.
Their interests have been done “damage”, the statement
makes clear, in two ways, in general and in specific. The timing was
bad. Specifically, the prime minister actually says that the eve of
discussions at the Hague was a bad time to murder Israelis. The
conclusion, the clear implication, from this part of the statement is
reprehensible. Is there a better time to murder innocents? Obviously,
if you are the Palestinian prime minister, yes, there is.
Also note the use of the word “this” – this act, not “any” act –
as an indicator of true feeling and outlook.
And then there is the third statement, “We call on the government of
Israel.” This statement actually calls on Israel to take steps to end
the violence and attain a cease-fire. Does he just think that the rest
of the world is easily fooled?
Israel is doing everything it can to prevent terrorists from murdering
innocents – Israelis, Arabs, foreign workers and tourist visitors – in its
cities. They have been remarkably successful, but still, terrorists slip
in and turn Israel’s streets into war zones.
The irony is that the PA, i.e Abu ‘Ala i.e. Arafat, actually believes
that this statement is a compromise and that they are fulfilling the
expectations of the Western world by condemning “the act”, or at
least, by mouthing the words.
Never ever to this day has the Palestinian Authority publicly
expressed rejection of an attack because it is wrong.