September 22, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6623

Contrasting PA Reactions To Latest Terror Wave - 'Abbas: Children Are Taking Up Knives Of Their Own Volition To Carry Out Stabbings; PA Foreign Ministry: Israel Executing Palestinians Without Cause

September 22, 2016
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 6623

 The past week has seen a sharp increase in armed Palestinian attacks on Israelis that included stabbings, vehicular attacks and stone throwing. Among the incidents were the stabbing on September 19, 2016 of two police officers near Herod's Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City, in which a policewoman was severely wounded, and an attempted stabbing carried out on September 16 by a Jordanian national near Damascus Gate outside the Old City.

A review of the responses to these events by Fatah and PA officials and institutions reveals a stark contrast between the reaction of Palestinian President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas, who acknowledged that Palestinians were carrying out stabbings against Israelis, and the reactions of other PA and Fatah institutions and officials, who categorically denied that violent attacks were taking place, and consistently described the incidents as executions of Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces.

Fatah's official Facebook page, like 'Abbas, did not deny that attacks were taking place. It  posted an obituary for one of the attackers that called him a "martyred hero" and praised his "bold vehicular operation."

The following are excerpts from the statements by 'Abbas, from the obituary on Fatah's official Facebook page,   and from responses by other Palestinian officials and bodies.

'Abbas: Children Are Taking Up Knives To Carry Out Stabbings

In a September 17, 2016 meeting in Venezuela with representatives of the Palestinian community there, 'Abbas stated that Palestinian children were carrying out stabbings out of despair: "Children are taking up knives of their own volition. Do not believe those who say that certain elements are pushing and inciting them. These are children who have lost hope and are taking up knives to carry out stabbing attacks."[1]

'Abbas in Venezuela (image:, September 18, 2016)

Official Fatah Facebook Page Mourns "Heroic" Perpetrator Of "Bold Vehicular Operation"

Fatah's official Facebook page featured an obituary for Firas Al-Khadour, killed on September 16 while trying to run down a group of Israelis in Kiryat Arba. The obituary,  released on September 18 by Fatah's north Hebron branch, described the attacker as a "martyred hero" and the attack as a "heroic vehicular operation." It stated: "The Palestinian national liberation movement Fatah, north Hebron-Bani Na'im branch, announces [the nuptials of] its martyred hero Firas Moussa Al-Birawi Al-Khadour (Al-Manasra) [to the 72 virgins of Paradise].[2] He was martyred while carrying out a heroic vehicular operation in the settlement of Kiryat Arba... Fatah: action, revolution and revenge."[3]

The obituary on the Fatah Facebook page  

PA, Fatah Officials, Institutions: Israel Executing Palestinians In Cold Blood, Although They Pose No Threat

Unlike 'Abbas, who acknowledged that Palestinian were carrying out attacks against Israelis, and unlike the Fatah obituary that glorified the vehicular attack carried out by Firas Al-Khadour, other PA institutions and  officials denied that such attacks were taking place, describing the events as "Israeli terror" and accusing Israel of "executing unarmed Palestinian civilians."

A September 20, 2016 announcement by the PA Foreign Ministry read: "In recent days, the Israeli government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu escalated its field executions of unarmed Palestinians, especially in the districts of Jerusalem and Hebron, although [these Palestinians] did not pose any threat to the soldiers of the occupation or its settlers."[4]

One day earlier, PA Justice Minister 'Ali Abu Diak addressed an attempted stabbing by Muhannad Al-Rajabi (21) and Amir Al-Rajabi (17) in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in the course of which they were shot and killed. He said:  "The crime of executing the boy Amir Jamal Al-Rajabi and the martyr Muhannad Jamal Al-Rajabi near Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi [the  Cave of the Patriarchs] in Hebron today... is a [an act of] state terrorism and further proof that Israel continues to perpetrate war crimes and to violate international and humanitarian law. The world must hold Israel to account and prosecute it for its hideous crimes against our people... Israel is waging a one-sided war against our people and escalating its crimes of killing and aggression..."[5]

Similar statements were made by official Fatah institutions and officials. In a communique it issued, Fatah's Recruitment and Organization Commission spoke of "Israeli terrorism," saying: "The level of fascism and terror that Israel has reached indicates that it does nothing competently except execute Palestinians in cold blood - at checkpoints, on the roads, and at the gates of the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque. We face a wave of Israeli terror that is developing into another [campaign of] daily killing operations that devour [our] children even more than [our] adults, under the sponsorship and according to the instructions of the corrupt Netanyahu government [whose policy] is based on killing Palestinians everywhere, regardless of their age."[6]   

Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmeh likewise referred to the violent events as "Israel's execution of Palestinians at the checkpoints," and claimed that "this is nothing but the faithful implementation of orders emanating from the politicians and rulers in Tel Aviv."[7] In a communique issued by Fatah's Jerusalem branch, the branch's secretary-general, 'Adnan Gheith, said that "the occupation forces are targeting Palestinians and permitting their blood directly and deliberately, which will lead to catastrophic consequences... Our Palestinian people has become a direct target of field executions and cold blooded murder by the occupation forces, who commit their crimes in front of the whole world, yet nobody acts to put a stop to these racist crimes."[8]      




[1], September 18, 2016.

[2] On the association between a martyr's funeral and his nuptials to the virgins of Paradise, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 61, The Joy of the Mothers of Palestinian 'Martyrs,' June 27, 2001.

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[3], September 18, 2016.

[4], September 20, 2016;, September 20, 2016.

[5], September 19, 2016.

[6], September 20, 2016.

[7], September 19, 2016.

[8i], September 19, 2016.

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