July 9, 2001 No.

Arafat's Condolences to Dolphinarium Bomber's Family: The Heroic Martyrdom Operation'…'A Model of Manhood and Sacrifice for Allah and the Homeland…'

On June 24, 2001, the German TV network, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) aired in its weekly program, "Weltspiegl" a news special titled "The Father of the Terrorist." The program briefly focused on the life of the Tel-Aviv disco suicide bomber and his family and friends reaction to his martyrdom in which 21 mostly teenagers were killed and over 100 injured. In one segment of the report the sister of the bomber is seen flipping through a scrapbook which includes pictures, news clippings, and letters regarding her dead brother’s suicide attack. Among the letters included is one from Yasser Arafat sent by the Palestinian Embassy in Jordan, praising his heroism[1]. The German TV narrator said about Arafat's letter the following:

"The album, a telltale collection of condolence letters. This one here from the Hamas. But much more surprising for us, there is also a letter from Arafat. It was a heroic deed, he lets his embassy in Jordan write to the family. To turn one’s body into a bomb is the best example of willingness to make a sacrifice. Signed Yasser Arafat. [Is] the assassin, the great role model for the President of Palestine, as well?"

Segments from the text of the letter as visible from the German TV report*:

In English

Embassy of the State of Palestine
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The emblem of the embassy with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a map of Palestine [including what is now Israel]

In Arabic

To the brothers, the family of Al-Hotary and the Noble People of Qalqilya,

With hearts that believe in Allah's will and predetermination, we have received the news about the martyrdom of the martyr…. Al-Hotary, the son of Palestine, whose noble soul ascended to… in order to rest in Allah's Kingdom, together with the Prophets, the men of virtue, and the martyrs. The heroic martyrdom operation … who turned his body into bombs … the model of manhood and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and the homeland…

[Unclear lines] that the martyr be… in Allah's mercy and will… Allah's grace and satisfaction… will inspire all members of his family… The best of condolences. To Allah we belong and to him we return back [Koran]

Yasser Arafat, the President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO
Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority
[Stamp Emblem]

*The German television cassette, the script (and its English translation) and copies of captions from the video containing images of the letter, are available upon request.

The Palestinian media recently reported other such instances as well. For example:

On June 8, 2001, a funeral was held in the town of Tulkarm for an activist of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ashraf Al-Bardawil, who died while preparing an explosive devise for another terrorist act. In his eulogy, the PA Governor of Tulkarm, 'Izz Al-Din Al-Sharif, delivered the condolences of Yasser Arafat to the family.

The Islamic Jihad Weekly, Al-Istiqlal, praised many terrorist attacks Al-Bardawil participated in, including placing a car bomb in Netanya [Israel].

Source: Al-Quds, June 9, 2001.

In late April, Hassan Muhhamad Al-Qadhi, the murderer of the 16-year-old Israeli who was tempted through the internet to come to the PA territory - was himself killed while preparing explosives for another terrorist operation.

On May 5, 2001, his family put an ad in the PA paper Al-Ayyam thanking Yasser Arafat, "The father of all martyrs" for extending condolences to the family of the martyr and the whole clan of Al-Qadhi "for the martyr of the revolution and the homeland."

Source: Al-Ayyam, PA, May 5, 2001.

[1] The PA daily Al-Ayyam, reported on June 24, 01 that on June 23, 2001 Yasser Arafat's bureau in Ramallah, denied the claims of the German TV station according to which they have a letter by Arafat praising the Martyrdom operation that caused the death of 21 Israeli youth. Arafat's bureau said that the letter is a forgery. No action has been taken by the PLO to prove that it is a forgery and no disciplinary action has been taken by Arafat's bureau against the PLO embassy in Jordan who sent the letter to the family on Arafat's behalf.