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memri
January 5, 2018 No.
7267

'Fatah Day' At Bir Zeit University: Fatah Youth Activists Wear Dummy Explosive Belts, Threaten Israel With 'Volcano Of Fire'

Amid tension with the U.S. over President Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Fatah movement – both its leadership and its activists in the field – has also escalated its rhetoric against Israel, with emphasis on encouraging armed struggle (see also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7259, Fatah Social Media Accounts Glorify Armed Struggle Against Israel, Incite To Violence, January 2, 2018). One expression of this was a mass rally and parade held by Fatah's youth movement in  Bir Zeit University on January 3, 2018, as part of events marking Fatah Day, i.e., the 53rd anniversary of Fatah's founding. The participants in the rally and parade wore military uniforms, and some were masked and wore shrouds and dummy explosive belts. One of the signs they carried bore Yasser Arafat's slogan, "millions of martyrs are marching on Jerusalem."

This report presents examples of incitement to armed struggle against Israel, including suicide attacks, at the Fatah Day events in Bir Zeit and in recent posts on Facebook pages affiliated with the movement and its activists.


Fatah Youth activist sports dummy explosive belt at Fatah Day parade in Bir Zeit (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018). 

Fatah Day Parade At BirZeitUniversity: "Millions Of Martyrs Are Marching On Jerusalem"

The Fatah Youth rally and parade at BirZeitUniversity were attended by several hundred students, many of them masked, decked in uniform and carrying Fatah flags. Some wore white robes resembling shrouds and dummy explosive belts, and held up copies of the Quran. Photos of this Bir Zeit event were posted on the Fatah's official Twitter page and on Facebook pages affiliated with the movement.[1] The message conveyed by the event was one of support for armed struggle, such as Fatah's actions before the Oslo Accords and during the second intifada.[2]


Announcement of the Bir Zeit event, featuring Fatah's pre-Oslo-era leadership, including Black September commander Abu Iyad and Fatah Armed Wing commander Abu Jihad (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018)


The Fatah Day parade at Bir Zeit; a participant wears a shroud and a dummy suicide belt, and holds up a Quran in one hand and a cross in the other (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018). 


Sign bears portrait of Arafat and his slogan "millions of martyrs are marching on Jerusalem" (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018)


Sign quotes Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) founder George Habash: "No peace or coexistence with Zionism"   (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018)

Fatah Youth Activists At Bir Zeit Event Convey Support For Armed Struggle

One of signs carried at the rally bore a photo of Yousuf Al-Shayeb, the coordinator of the Fatah Youth's activities at BirZeitUniversity, who was arrested by the Israeli armed forces on December 17, 2017 during violent protests against Trump's Jerusalem announcement.[3] Before his arrest he called on his comrades to mobilize and prepare for "every option" in defense of Jerusalem.[4] The Fatah Youth at Bir Zeit issued a statement condemning his arrest, and stating: "The policy of the occupation will not intimidate us or prevent us from defending our beloved Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Palestine… We convey a message to the Israeli occupation, that the escalation will come… If you think the flames in Bir Zeit will go out, you should expect a volcano of fire… This enemy [Israel] understands only the language of rage and of force."[5] Al-Shayeb's personal Facebook account (Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015242946195) feautres messages in support of armed struggle, such as photos of armed Al-Aqsa Brigades fighters.


Sign bearing photo of Yousuf Al-Shayeb (Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018)


Post on Al-Shayeb's personal Facebook account: "Our students [must] declare a high alert and prepare for every option in defense of Jerusalem" (Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015242946195, December 6, 2017)


Yousuf Al-Shayeb's profile picture: an Al-Aqsa Brigades fighter aiming a pistol (Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015242946195)

Facebook Account Of Bir Zeit Fatah Youth Glorifies Suicide Operations, 1972 Massacre Of Israeli Athletes

Ahead of this year's Fatah Day, the official Facebook account of Fatah Youth at Bir Zeit posted violent messages encouraging armed struggle against Israel, and in particular posts and videos celebrating deadly attacks committed by Fatah over the years. A December 31 post praised suicide bomber Ayat Al-Akhras, a female Al-Aqsa Brigades fighter who carried out an attack in a Jerusalem supermarket in 2002. The post wished her "mercy and eternal life" in Paradise and was accompanied by a video of the statement she made before setting out on the attack.[6]


The post featuring a video of Ayat Al-Akhras's last testament

Two other posts from the same day praised the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic games, which was described as "one of the important martyrdom operations carried out by the [Fatah] movement's Black September organization," and the 1975 attack on the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv. The latter attack, which was perpetrated by eight Fatah members and resulted in the death of eight civilians and three Israeli soldiers, was described as "one of the largest and most high-quality operations carried out by the Fatah's military wing, [then called] the Al-'Asifa Forces, under the command of the martyr Khalil Wazir." The video that accompanied the post praised the eight terrorists, as well as Wazir (aka Abu Jihad), who was Arafat's deputy at the time and masterminded the attack.[7]


The post praising the Munich massacre


The post praising the Savoy Hotel attack

 

[1] Facebook.com/officialfateh1965, Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, January 3, 2018.

[2] For similar messages conveyed at previous Fatah Day events, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6256, Children Sport Dummy Explosive Belts, RPG Launchers In Bethlehem 'Fatah Day' Parade, January 10, 2016.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), December 18, 2017.

[4] Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015242946195, December 6, 2017.

[5] Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, December 17, 2017.

[6] Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, December 31, 2017.

[7] Facebook.com/shabeba.bzu, December 31, 2017.