By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, May 26, 2006.
The Hamas newspaper this week chronicled with pride the ways in which
different foreign leaders singled out the Palestinians as examples of ideal
revolutionaries. The first leader cited by the Hamas weekly, Al-Rissala, for
praising the Palestinians was Adolf Hitler:
“Adolf Hitler, while exciting the Germans of the Sudetenland – the
Sudetenland is a German province that the Allies had annexed to
Czechoslovakia after the First World War – told them in his broadcasts: Look at
what the Palestinian revolutionaries are doing to Great Britain!!”
[Al-Rissala (Hamas Weekly), May 18, 2006]
Overview: Admiration of Hitler in the Palestinian Authority
It may be surprising to Western observers to see Palestinians taking pride in
having been praised by Hitler. But it is important to understand that the utter
revulsion of Hitler expected in the West is not true in Palestinian society.
Palestinians can be found who are named “Hitler” as a first name: Hitler
Salah [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 28, 2005], Hitler Abu-Alrab [Al Hayat Al
Jadida, Jan. 27, 2005], Hitler Mahmud Abu-Libda [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Dec.18,
This phenomenon of Palestinians being named after Hitler was explained in an
article in the official Palestinian Authority (PA) daily praising the rewriting of
history and the doing of “justice” to Hitler:
“Even Adolf Hitler, who after the fall of Nazi Germany turned into a
political horror for most of the writers and artists, during the last decades has
started to return himself to his part of the picture. There are some in Britain
who defended Hitler and tried to do justice for him. There are elderly people,
among them Arabs, who still carry the name Hitler since their fathers, who
were charmed by him, linked them [their children] with his name.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2000]
One article explained the phenomenon of naming Palestinians after admired
foreign leaders – such as Napoleon and the Nazi General Rommel:
“Sometimes parents name their children with foreign names, due to the
father’s admiration to a foreign personality. This is the source of the names:
Rommel [famous Nazi General] and Napoleon.”
[Al-Ayyam, November 15, 2001 “Woman’s Voice” supplement].
The admiration for Hitler is consistent with the status of Mein Kampf, which a
PA daily cited as a book on the best sellers’ list.
[Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 2, 1999].
A contributing factor to this admiration may be the history of the Hitler – Arab
alliance during World War 2. The Arab leader in British Palestine, the Mufti Haj
Amin al-Husseini, was actively allied with Hitler. The numerous meetings
between the Mufti and Hitler are well documented.
Finally, the PA daily published an interview with an elderly Lebanese which
described the man’s professed friendship with Hitler, as well as his pride in
fighting for Hitler. And whereas this is a personal account whose historical
accuracy is not important, what is significant is the positive, even proud
attitude about his friendship with Hitler, that is being expressed so routinely.
Interview with Sheikh Ali Hussain Abu-Ibrahim, a Palestinian resident of
Lebanon who claims he is 116 years old:
“Question: What are the important events in your life that left the
Answer: The first was the Hitler event. I met him in Jerusalem in one of
the Turkish Army camps, and the friendship between us was very tight. At the
time I was a sergeant while Hitler was a simple private. The relationship
between us tightened even more once Turkey entered the war together with
Germany. The second event was when I participated [with the Nazi army] in
entering France and conquering it. I was in charge of the cannon that shelled
Paris, which had an active influence on the fall of the French capital and its
conquest without any notable resistance. Hitler congratulated me on this
shelling and its consequences. As an artillery officer I took part in many
operations against the English and France, until the end of the Second
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 12, 2003]
Clearly, the name Hitler does not have the stigma in PA society that it has in
the West. Indeed, not only the Hamas daily, but the Fatah controlled PA dailies
as well, have written in favorable tones about Hitler. Clearly, to some
Palestinians the man and his name are sources of admiration.