August 22, 2003 Special Reports No. 20

Incitement in the Palestinian Authority After the Aqaba Summit

August 22, 2003 | By Y. Yehoshua and B. Chernitsky*
Palestinians | Special Reports No. 20

In his June 4, 2003 speech at the Aqaba summit, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said, "We will also act vigorously against incitement and violence and hatred, whatever their form or forum may be. We will take measures to ensure that there is not incitement emanating from Palestinian institutions."[1] It was in a meeting following that speech that PA Information Minister Nabil Amr and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided to establish two joint committees to examine Palestinian and Israeli incitement in the media and in school curricula.[2]

Since that meeting, the PA has taken a number of steps to stop incitement in the media and in mosques. Concurrently, however, incitement by bodies and institutions belonging to the PA or under its supervision continues. Thus, for example, Jihad and Shahada [martyrdom] are still glorified in the PA media, mosques and schoolbooks. They are also celebrated in summer camps that are named for suicide bombers and their dispatchers. Palestinian textbooks containing messages extolling Jihad and Shahada have not been changed.[3]

It should be noted that the media – newspapers, radio, and television – are still controlled by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, who himself relies on incitement to bolster his public status against that of Abu Mazen. For instance, Palestinian Television did not air any of the Aqaba summit, showing instead archive footage of Arafat.

This paper reviews both attempts to halt incitement and evidence of its continuation from the June 4, 2003 Aqaba summit up to the August 19 bus suicide bombing in Jerusalem. These are measured against limited criteria: only glorification of martyrdom or incitement to violence, only against targets inside the Green Line, and only since the Aqaba summit. Incitement occurring after the release of the Road Map and up to the Aqaba summit was not included in the paper, but two examples can be seen in Appendix I.

Table of Contents

I. Calls for Ending Incitement To Violence

A. Calls for Ending Incitement
1. A Demand to End Incitement in the Media
2. 'Song of Peace' Broadcast on Palestinian Television
3. An Order to End Incitement in the Mosques
4. Actions to Remove Incitement Graffiti in Gaza City
B. Calls Against Violence
C. Summer Camps to Encourage Peace

II. Incitement To and Encouragement Of Violence

A. PA TV Broadcasts (Video Clips Encouraging Shahada)
B. Friday Sermon on PA TV (Praising Shahids)
C. Glorification of Shahids in the Press
1. Obituaries for the Bus Bomber in Jerusalem and the Kfar Yabetz (Near Tel Aviv) Bomber
2. Poems Glorifying Shahids in the Palestinian Press
3. Reports and Articles Glorifying Shahids
4.Cartoons: Anti-Israel (and Anti-American), and Encouraging Suicide Operations
D. Other Ways of Glorifying Shahids
1. Summer Camps Educating to Shahada
2. Naming Streets and Facilities After Shahids
E. Palestinian Officials Encourage Violence and Shahada
F. Anti-American Incitement


Appendix I: Palestinian Incitement from the Release of the Road Map to the Aqaba Summit

A. Arafat' s Speech Marking International Day of the Child 2003, to Children of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees Held by Israel, The Muqata'a, Ramallah

B. Friday Sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, Gaza Mosque - May 5, 2003

Appendix II: A Palestinian Peace Song

Appendix III: Cartoons

Appendix IV: Photos of Children Carrying Weapons and of Armed 'Resisters to the Occupation' Posted on the Palestinian National Authority State Information Service Website

I. Calls for Ending Incitement To Violence

A. Calls for Ending Incitement

1. A Demand to End Incitement in the Media

The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quoted a Reuters report that the PA had ordered the local media to reduce "the combative tone against Israel," and called on Israeli media to "use restraint" in their reports.The paper said that Al-Hayat Al-Jadida editor-in-chief Hafez Al-Barghouti told Reuters that "the newspaper was asked by the PA to cease the incitement against Israel and similar demands were directed toward Palestinian Television and a number of West Bank radio stations." PA Information Minister Nabil Amr said, "Every day, the Information Ministry sends the media letters containing guidance on political and information [matters]." An Information Ministry communiqué stated that Arafat had in the past, following the Wye Memorandum, issued an order calling for the prevention of incitement;[4] this was a reference to an order published January 19, 1998.[5]

2. 'Song of Peace' Broadcast on Palestinian Television

During PA Prime Minister Abu Mazen's July 2003 visit to Washington D.C., Palestinian Television broadcast a video clip, subtitled in Arabic and English, of children singing in Arabic, English, French, and Hebrew about their longing for peace and brotherhood among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish children. The child representing the Jew in the clip is in ultra-Orthodox garb, with side-curls and a hat of the kind commonly worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews, and it is notable that there is no mention of Israel or Israelis. The following is an excerpt from the song (see Appendix II for full version):

"Fly with the birds
It doesn't matter whatever your name is,
or who you are
Don't cry, thousands love you
Sing with me for peace…"

"My homeland, my mother
The people's suffering is mine
My heart is a little angel
Dreaming of peace
The pigeon's song…" [6]

3. An Order to End Incitement in the Mosques

Dr. Suleiman 'Ouda, lecturer at Al-Azhar University and preacher at Gaza's Anan Mosque, was interviewed for the Al-Ra'i supplement of thePolitical and National Guidance Administration, which appears in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. He said: "The preacher must refrain from [mentioning] all controversial Hadiths [Islamic traditions] and opinions, and seek other subjects that unite the citizens, particularly at this difficult time when we need national unity… [Preachers] must refrain [from addressing] all political spheres in the mosques… [Since] the mosques belong to Allah, do not preach to anyone besides Allah…" 'Ouda also criticized some Palestinian factions' abuse of mosques as platforms for disseminating propaganda, as well as the pasting of signs and posters on the inner and outer walls of the mosques. He said that these activities lead to tension, not calm, and detract from the spirit of the mosques, which should be a meeting place for all Muslims, regardless of their views or affiliation.[7]

4. Actions to Remove Incitement Graffiti in Gaza City

In early July 2003, the PA declared a "Clean and Beautiful Gaza" campaign. Municipal workers erased graffiti that had accumulated throughout the Intifada. The Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported that Palestinian political commentator Ali Al-Jibrawi told Reuters that "the graffiti and murals have become a symbol of the national Palestinian identity since the 1967 occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and it is one of the few means the Palestinians have to convey political messages." Al-Jibrawi questioned the effectiveness of cleaning up the graffiti, since, as he said, "the change must be in the people's minds, not on their walls."[8]

B. Calls Against Violence

Palestinian officials called for a halt to violent operations, particularly because of the Hudna (temporary ceasefire agreement). PA Prime Minister Abu Mazen told Reuters in an interview: "From now on anybody, any faction, any party which violates it – we will put them in prison… We will invest maximum effort in preventing confrontation with our people, because if we do this, this may lead to civil war and bring about an end to all the hopes of our people."[9] PA Minister in Charge of Security Affairs Muhammad Dahlan added, "The natural place of anyone who violates the cease fire announced by the Palestinian Authority is in court."[10]

Following the firing of rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities after the Aqaba summit, the Fatah Movement issued a communique declaring that it was against all attempts to violate the Hudna and saw these attempts as deviating from the national consensus. The movement called on its men to "fight these operations, to condemn them, and to expose the elements that stand behind them." Fatah also called on the Palestinian government "to shoulder responsibility and catch anyone who acts on his own authority against the interests of the Palestinian people."[11]

Preventive Security apparatus head in Bethlehem Col. Majdi Al-'Atari told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds: "We will pursue anyone who tries to violate the law or who acts against it… We will not allow anyone to bear arms except the official, uniformed PA personnel and security officers…"[12]

Preventive Security apparatus head in the Gaza Strip Col. Rashid Abu Shbak told the PA daily Al-Ayyam that the apparatus would continue to pursue anyone who tried to violate the Hudna. He also said that Preventive Security was, for the third consecutive day, hunting members of the "popular resistance committees" in the Gaza Strip with the aim of arresting them, and that two of them had already been arrested.[13]

C. Summer Camps to Encourage Peace

The PA organizes summer camps for youth every year, and this year the theme of some camps was peace – for example, the 'Brotherhood and Peace' camp in Isawiyya and the Peace Camp in Hebron.[14] Sanaa Al-Masri, commander of the summer camp at the Mus'ib bin Umair school in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City, said that this year's message in the summer camps was, by order of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, "the peace of the brave." Al-Masri noted that "the peace for which we call [in the summer camp] is a just peace that guarantees the restoration of our Palestinian rights, in accordance with the U.N. resolutions, including 194 which orders the return of the Palestinian refugees, and a peace that guarantees a release of all prisoners and detainees."[15]

Zuheir Al-Kahlout, commander of a summer camp in the Al-Zahawi school in Gaza City, said the camp staff was "acting to teach the children love for a peace based on justice and equality, not on submission."[16]

Lt.-Gen. Muhammad 'Awadhalla, director of the financial department of the summer camps of the National Guidance Administration, explained the decision to adopt the motto "the peace of the brave" for the summer camps as: "'The peace of the brave' [is a motto] that President Abu Ammar [Arafat] calls for, and setting the motto 'the peace of the brave' as the motto of the summer camps is a positive step. This is because our people and its leadership want to realize the peace of the brave to which President Arafat calls… the Palestinian people have been longing for peace for years, to live in serenity that guarantees security for Palestinian and Israeli children alike… 'The peace of the brave' is what will guarantee love and well being for the region and will realize a better future for our children." At the same time, 'Awadhalla said, "The summer camps are an essential need for our boys and girls, to hone their knowledge, in addition to the spirit of sacrifice [fidaa] and love of the homeland."[17]

II. Incitement To and Encouragement Of Violence

Glorification of Shahids and Shahada is continuing, with no distinction between Shahids who died in conflicts with the IDF and settlers in the Palestinian territories and those who carried out suicide bombings killing Israeli civilians within the Green Line. Continued praise and glorification can be found both in the Palestinian media reports and in the framework of the various activities organized by PA bodies.

A. PA TV Broadcasts (Video Clips Encouraging Shahada)

Several times after the Aqaba summit, Palestinian Television rebroadcast a video clip on the Virgins of Paradise – the Shahid's reward – that had been aired frequently prior to the summit. The video shows a young man becoming a Shahid and ascending to heaven. There he meets his beloved and the other Virgins of Paradise, all dancing in bridal gowns among the gardens and the flowing streams, which are the traditional Koranic image of Paradise.

On July 24, 2003, PA TV also aired a clip glorifying the Intifada's first female suicide bomber, Wafaa Idris. The lyrics of the song on the video are:

"My sister Wafaa
Oh revival of pride
Oh flower that was on earth
and ascended to the heavens…

"You chose Shahada
And in your death gave life to the power of will…

"Oh spirit of a magnificent people
That desires self-sacrifice…" [18]

B. Friday Sermon on PA TV (Praising Shahids)

On August 15, 2003, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris delivered a sermon extolling Shahids at the Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza City. "…Blessings to you, [sons of] the Palestinian people, people of Jerusalem who sacrifice Shahids in order to preserve the identity of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and its Islamic and Arab identity… The residents of Palestine and Jerusalem are the ones who preserve the existence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque… We bless you, we bless everyone whose blood flows upon this good and pure land.

"If a prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque is worth 1,000 prayers at another mosque, then know that a Shahid [who falls] on this land is considered more than one Shahid someplace else. Yes, there are traditions according to which a Shahid here is worth 70 Shahids somewhere else… Every wounded person on this land is comparable to hundreds of wounded [somewhere else]…

"The Palestinian people today needs Omar bin Al-Khattab,[19] whose soul was inflamed every time he read Surat Al-Israa [Koran Chapter 17]. Every time he read the verse: 'Holy is He who took his servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Distant Mosque [17:1]', he felt that Al-Aqsa Mosque was asking for his help. And then he organized his army and turned from there [Al-Medina] to here, to Al-Sham [Syria] and to Jerusalem, with the closest companions of the Prophet, in order to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He liberated it from the Christians who had defiled it. He liberated it, but gave them [the Christians] security, with what was later called 'The Pact of Omar.'

"Notice, oh worshippers of Allah, the Jews are the most loathsome creatures on the face of the earth. For the Christians, despite their abominations, asked of Omar bin Al-Khattab one condition from among four – not to permit the Jews to live in Palestine. We want people like Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyoubi [Saladin],[20] we want a Salah Al-Din to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, that Salah Al-Din liberated when he heard the cries of the people of Palestine and the people of Syria when they were subject to massacres and abuses…

"Since Salah Al-Din liberated Al-Aqsa Mosque and the land of Palestine, this land has been subject to the greed of invaders, until the imperialist attack came, and Palestine was conquered. It was conquered by the British [and because of this] we have relations of blood vengeance. Between Britain and us, there is a lengthy reckoning of blood vengeance that has not been forgotten, even though politics requires it. Was it not Britain that gave what it did not possess, to those who had no right to it? Was it not Britain that gave the Jews a right to establish a state on the land of Palestine, and at the expense of the Palestinian people? Palestine and its holy places are subject to constant aggression…

"Hasn't the world heard of the Palestinian detainees who suffer in their [Israel's] jails, when yesterday they were served poisoned meals, because of which perhaps dozens of our imprisoned sons will die? Your brothers in the prisons are subject to the ugliest of Zionist attacks. They are subject to the ugliest of tortures and abuses. You have heard, and all the world has heard, that two days ago our brothers in the houses of detention were served poisoned meals and that more than 50 prisoners are in serious condition because they were given poisoned food…"[21]

C. Glorification of Shahids in the Press

1. Obituaries for the Bus Bomber in Jerusalem and the Kfar Yabetz (Near Tel Aviv) Bomber

Three Palestinian Authority dailies, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Al-Ayyam, and Al-Quds, published obituaries for Abd Al-Mu'ti Muhammad Salleh Shabana Al-Tamimi, who blew himself up on the No. 14 bus in June 2003 in Jerusalem's Jaffa Road. These obituaries were in the accepted format for such notices, glorifying the bomber and his deed in Islamic terms.[22] The obituary in the PA dailies Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Al-Ayyam was as follows:

"'Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow [to sacrifice themselves for Allah in battle], and some (still) wait [to fulfill their vow]: but they never changed it [Koran 33:23].'"

'Announcement of a Shahid's Death'

"Palestine-Hebron: The Shahid's brothers and the entire Shabana Al-Tamimi family, in the homeland and outside it, announce to the two nations – the Arab and Muslim nation in general and our Palestinian people, at the battlefront, in particular –
the [death] of the Hero Shahid Abd Al-Mu'ti Muhammad Salleh Shabana Al-Tamimi(age 18) who carried out the heroic act in Jaffa Road - June 11, 2003.We pray to Allah to accept him among the prophets, the saints, and the Shahids in whose company it is good to be.

"'To Allah we belong and to Him we return' [Koran 2:156]
Congratulations on [the death of] the Hero Shahid will be received at the cultural center named for the Companion of the Prophet Tamim Al-Dari, at Mount Abu Ruman, Hebron,
for three days beginning yesterday, Thursday, from 16:00 to 19:00."

The PA daily Al-Ayyam published an obituary placed by the Islamic Jihad organization for Ahmad Khairi Fat'hi Yahyah, who carried out the July 7, 2003 suicide bombing at Kfar Yabetz after the declaration of the Hudna. The following is the announcement:

"Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow [to sacrifice themselves for Allah in battle], and some (still) wait [to fulfill their vow]: but they never changed it [Koran 33:23].

"Announcement of the Death of a Hero Shahid Palestine-Jenin: The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine views with pride and glory the Hero Shahid who is with Allah Ahmad Khairi Fat'hi Yahyah son of Ra'i Village of the Jihad the Shahid who carried out the operation northeast of Tel Aviv last Tuesday, July 7, 2003. We ask Allah to cover him with His great mercy and to lodge him in His Paradise. We announce to our Jihad-fighting people and to our Arab and Muslim nation about the Hero Shahid, and we promise him and all the pure Shahids that we will follow in their path. Jihad [is] either victory or Shahada."[23]

2. Poems Glorifying Shahids in the Palestinian Press

The Palestinian daily Al-Quds published an article by Sa'id Muhammad Sa'ada that reviewed a collection of poems, Here We Were and Here We Will Be, by Palestinian poet Lutfi Zaghloul. In his article, Sa'ada quotes Zaghloul's qasida (Arabic poem), “Before You, Oh Homeland," that says: "…To you, oh homeland, we drink the cup of death How sweet the cup, how sweet the drink With every additional Shahid, We draw closer to you."

In his analysis of the poem, Sa'ada wrote, "The poet Lutfi Zaghloul loved his homeland with a fierce love. The ardency of his love increased because of the desecration of the homeland by plundering, occupation, destruction, and killing. Therefore, the poet – like any other inhabitant of the homeland – did not refrain from offering his soul to redeem the homeland, without fearing the enemy and his murderous deeds. It is to this that we refer when we say that the fierce love in the soul of the poet Zaghloul deviated from the purely moral framework perceived through the senses and moved on from saying theoretical words to actual implementation of this fierce love. The implementation of the emotion was manifested in fighting and defending the homeland, so that it would again be a homeland over which fly the banners of liberation, freedom, and victory, whatever the price in Shahids."[24]

Al-Quds also published the lyrics to a song by Zaghloul called "A Song of Palestine," which had won first prize at the International Festival of Arab Song in Dubai:

"…May my banner fly high,
I will redeem you with the gushing of my blood
I have a homeland, I have a home, I have a people with sublime ambitions

With the blood of Shahids, I sketch out my tomorrow.
Blessed be the righteous martyrs
How noble is the free fedai. He is still imprisoned
He sacrificed that which is most precious to him, oh my homeland, and the sweetest days of life
The night is neither beautiful nor sweet when the moon cannot be seen." [25]

The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published "Between Seasickness and the Dew on the Window" by Druze poet Sleiman Daghash, who lives in Israel. The following are excerpts:

"… Stretch your two fingers in the V-sign
Above his grave. Death is smaller than his Shahada, which rises up as high
As the minaret of resurrection at dawn prayers…
This is the ancient wisdom of death:
The Shahids will awaken like anemones
at dawn
Bathing themselves in blood, in the birth pangs of the Earth
Stretch out your two fingers like two strokes of lightning and like two shots
And finally, the infant will emerge." [26]

3. Reports and Articles Glorifying Shahids

In an interview with Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nuzhah Ziyadeh, also known as Umm Souheil, a 55-year-old woman from the Jebaliya refugee camp who had "sacrificed two of her sons as Shahids for the sake of Allah," expressed "pride and a sense of honor that Allah had honored her with the martyrdom of her two sons Souheil and Muhammad, and made their wish come true." The paper called Umm Souheil "Al-Khansaa" – referring to the mother of Shahids in Islamic history.[27]

The paper quoted Umm Souheil, (mother of Souheil), as saying in the interview, "Souheil was a paragon of sacrifice and love of the homeland to be imitated. He went out at noon on a Thursday in May 2002, after refusing to eat the lunch I prepared for him. He was wearing his weapon and his bag, and he went to eastern Gaza. He fought the enemies of Allah until he martyred himself after evening prayers… I awoke suddenly at 11 at night, and saw my sons Maher and Muhammad perturbed. I tried to extract information from them, but I was not successful. I prayed to Allah until Muhammad came to me and told me the news. I broke into cries of joy and turned to my daughters so they could congratulate their brother Souheil on his Shahada

"[Souheil] was known for his courage and resourcefulness. He never missed a chance to confront the infidels. He participated in destroying an armored personnel carrier in the area of Beit Lahiya. He also participated in the operation in which the nuclear researcher was killed in the Elei Sinai settlement. [Souheil] had great experience in preparing bombs, guided bombs, and missiles… We have no honor except in Jihad and martyrdom. We have no honor except in self-sacrifice, persistence, and steadfastness…"

The newspaper report continued, "Umm Souheil went on with the stories of the heroism and sacrifice, and said that her second son Muhammad would entreat his brother Souheil to agree to send him to carry out a martyrdom operation, and he even complained to those responsible for him that his brother was preventing him from fulfilling his wish. Souheil's response was that he could not send him and could not prevent him, and that he needed his mother's permission. Umm Souheil added, 'I tried to persuade him at first to change his mind, but he insisted, and then I told him: Do what you want, I cannot prevent you.' She added that Muhammad died a martyr's death on July 14, 2002, that is, two months after his brother was martyred: ‘He died on the roof of the home of a group of friends who were carrying out their daily preparation of explosives. Suddenly I heard the sound of a powerful explosion, and then two of Muhammad's friends emerged carrying him, with blood covering his face. After a few meters he fell from their hands onto the ground. When I realized that he had martyred himself, I turned to him, kissed him, and praised Allah that he had gained the Shahada he had sought. He had participated in all the confrontations with the occupation forces.'"[28]

In an article for the PA daily Al-Quds, Palestinian Legislative Council member Imad Al-Hamid Al-Falouji mentioned Al-Khansaa in the same breath as national Palestinian icons such as Arafat and Fares 'Ouda:[29] "… At the forefront of our [Palestinian] people are [those] like the ShahidFares 'Ouda and [other] Shahids,and [like] the leader [Arafat] standing at the battlefront in times of peace and times of siege… [and like] the prisoners standing, with empty stomachs, against the jailors as models of determination, facing the challenge, and standing with pride, and the Palestinian women like Al-Khansaa, giving birth to these heroes as in their eyes appears the determination to remain and endure life's hardships…"[30]

The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article by Tarek Daraghma, head of the Association of Families of Shahids in the Tubas district, in which he wrote: "… If it is true to say that the Shahids are the most honorable people, and that there is no argument or doubt about this, then why do we not wish their sons, daughters, wives, fathers, and mothers well? Why do we not understand the sensitivity of the situation?… The family of the one whom Allah loves and whom He has chosen [to carry out] Shahadaneeds a great deal of [assistance]… Do not, whether intentionally or unintentionally, make those who sacrifice their sons and daughters for the homeland go door to door in search of food…"[31]

4. Cartoons: Anti-Israel (and Anti-American), and Encouraging Suicide Operations

Following the Aqaba summit, the Palestinian press continued to publish anti-Israeli (and anti-American) cartoons, as well as cartoons encouraging suicide attacks. Examples of such cartoons are those by Omayya Juha, a cartoonist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, while her husband was, until his death, an activist for the military wing of Hamas, Iz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.[32]

Juha is the most popular Palestinian cartoonist, and her website,, was recently chosen as "Best Arab Cartoon Website."[33] For years, Juha has produced anti-Israel (and anti-American) cartoons showing, for example, Israel (and the U.S.) as snakes and Sharon (and Bush) murdering children in cold blood, as well as cartoons glorifying suicide bombings. Since the Aqaba summit, Juha has continued to produce these cartoons, and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida continues to publish them. Examples include one that appeared the day after the No. 14 bus suicide bombing in Jerusalem, showing the torn body parts of a man who was blown up; Israel in the form of a spider; the U.S. as an octopus strangling Saddam Hussein and killing his two sons Uday and Qusay; Sharon as a child-murderer under the aegis of the U.S.; Israel as a child murderer; and an antisemitic cartoon: Israel, as represented by a bloodstained man wearing a skullcap, participates in an economic conference (see Appendix III).

Other media also publish cartoons that incite violence. The Palestinian daily Al-Quds printed an antisemitic cartoon showing a crucified Palestinian and Iraqi, to stress that the Jews were crucifying them like they had allegedly crucified Jesus (see Appendix III). The official Palestinian Authority information website,, posted photos of children carrying weapons,[34] and pictures of armed "resisters to the occupation (see Appendix IV)." The site also provides links to "important Palestinian sites" such as the main publication of the Fatah movement, which is headed by the motto "Arab Palestine, from the Sea to the River," and the site, identified with the Hamas movement.

D. Other Ways of Glorifying Shahids

1. Summer Camps Educating to Shahada

A large number of summer camps were named after Shahids, without distinction between whether they were involved in attacks in the Palestinian territories or carried out suicide bombings within the Green Line. The following is a partial roundup of some camps that were mentioned in the Palestinian media:

  • Two summer camps were named after the first female suicide bomber Wafaa Idris, in Qalqiliya and in the Al-Am'ari refugee camp;[35]
  • A summer camp in eastern Gaza, organized by the Fatah Shabiba,[36] was named after female suicide bomber Ayat Al-Akhras;
  • A summer camp was named after commander of Fatah's military wing Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades[37] in Tulkarem, Ra'id Karmi;
  • A summer camp in Gaza was named after Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Commander in Gaza, Jihad Al-‘Amarin;[38]
  • A summer camp was named after the Shahid Mahmoud Al-Jamasi, who blew up an IDF boat in Gaza;[39]
  • A summer camp in the town of ‘Azoun in the Qalqiliya district, organized by the National Guidance Administration and named after the Shahid Muhammad Salim, an activist in the Hamas military wing Iz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades who was killed while trying to blow up a tank;[40]
  • A boys' summer camp in Dir Ballah named after Shahids;[41]
  • A boys' summer camp named after "the Shahids of Surif";[42]
  • The "Loyalty to the Blood of the Martyrs" summer camp;[43]
  • The "Loyalty and Love for Chairman Yasser Arafat" summer camp, which this year was named after Shahids from the Rafah district;[44]
  • The "Independence and [Refugee] Return" summer camp in Nablus.[45]
  • At an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades summer camp in the Hebron district, the children held a closing ceremony which included a play called "The Shahid's Wedding"[46] – that is, his wedding in Paradise to the 72 black-eyed virgins.
  • The Charity Organization for Aid to Orphans and the Needy in Jericho, which is close to the Hamas movement, concluded its summer camps with an exhibit of handicrafts. The 230 children participating in these camps were divided into groups with names that have Islamic connotations. Some of the names were: Al-Khansaa, Al-Tayyar,[47] and Paradise.[48]

2. Naming Streets and Facilities After Shahids

The Khan Yunis municipality named a street after the Shahid Osama Al-Najjar, who was known as the spokesman of Fatah's military wing Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and who died during a conflict with the IDF near Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Khan Yunis Mayor Dr. Osama Al-Fara emphasized the importance of the event, which, in his words, "honored the spirit of the Shahid Osama Al-Najjar."[49]

In the Jebaliya refugee camp, the Association of Families of Shahids inaugurated a building in memory of the Shahids from the camp, as well as an "Archive of Nobility and Pride," which included the names of 750 Shahids from the northern district of Gaza who had died from 1967 to the present. Attending the ceremony were members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and ministers. Minister for Social Affairs Intisar Al-Wazir delivered a speech on behalf of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, saying: "The names of the Shahids who made the motto of independence a reality will continue to be a sign and a paragon that the Jebaliya refugee camp will place on the land of the homeland, and they [the Shahids] will be remembered because of their sacrifice for the land and for the homeland… The Palestinian people, that continues to sacrifice and to stand fast, believes in the necessity of victory and the completion of its just mission."[50]

E. Palestinian Officials Encourage Violence and Shahada

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat met in his headquarters, the Muqata'a, in Ramallah, with children from summer camps in Jerusalem and its environs, and told them: "A boy from among our boys and a girl from among our girls will wave the flag of Palestine above the walls of Jerusalem, its mosques, and its churches." He also led the chants, "In spirit and in blood we will redeem you, oh Palestine," "millions of Shahidim marching to Jerusalem," and added, "Oh comrades of the path and of the journey, Oh comrades of the path of Fares Ouda, I ask of you that you call this day Fares Ouda day… together and shoulder to shoulder to Jerusalem."[51]

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, issued a communique announcing that the organization would continue to carry out "martyrdom operations… in order to unravel the threads of the plot called Sharm Al-Sheikh and the Aqaba summit."[52]

After the announcement of the intention to transfer the wanted men who had taken refuge in the Muqat'a to Jericho, another Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades communiqué urged "standing against the traitors and the agents. Any hand reached out [to harm] the Mujaheddeen who defend our land and our people must be severed, and must be seen as a Zionist hand. Similarly, we call on all the heroes, Jihad warriors, and those willing to martyr themselves, to carry out their operations within the plundering [Zionist] entity, so as to shake the ground under their feet and to thwart their plans."[53]

In Bethleham, during a party held in his honor for the Palestinian factions, Ahmad Jbarra (Abu Sukar), one of the prisoners released by Israel a day before the Aqaba summit, indirectly called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers so they could be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners: "There is no security or peace for this rabble [Israel] without the release of the prisoners. I remind all the national and Islamic factions that in exchange for three Jewish solders, 1,150 [Palestinian] prisoners were released in the famous exchange [i.e. in 1983, between Israel and Ahmad Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command]." He continued: "[Israel] is a powerful country with weapons of mass destruction, but the Jews love life while we love freedom and are willing to die for it… Our Shahids are in Paradise and their dead are in Hell."[54]

F. Anti-American Incitement

In his weekly column in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Palestinian Legislative Council member Nahed Munir Al-Rayyis connected the "[Christian Fundamentalist] vision of Armageddon," and the vision of "the Zionists and of those who act like Zionists" with the actions of American presidents who supported Israel. He said that those who act like Zionists and believed in the "vision of Armageddon," who were now in power in the U.S., "have become the sole rulers of the world, and have begun to act like those who light the sulfur fires."

Al-Rayyis enumerated the "Zionist" American presidents – Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, George Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton – and then discussed George W. Bush, saying that the source of American politics is actually Israeli politics. Proof of this, he says, is that "even the American occupation forces in Iraq seek guidance from and imitate the Israeli occupation in its [Israel's] war on the Palestinians… Even the U.S. chief of staff could find no other name for his special units sent to suppress the Iraqi resistance besides 'Unit 101,' after the unit headed by Ariel Sharon that was set up by the Israeli occupation army at the beginning of the occupation of Palestine 50 years ago …"

Al-Rayyis went on to say that what was lacking now was to bring Hollywood to the battlefront, as Hollywood was a contributor to the incitement against the Arabs and the Muslims, based on the words of evangelists who were acting like Zionists. To underline the connection between Hollywood and the Jews, Al-Rayyis listed key Jewish individuals in Hollywood, and then concluded his article with a quote by "non-Zionist American writer Grace Halsell, that this behavior will, with the knowledge of the evangelistic Zionists, lead 'directly to a holocaust indescribably more savage and widespread than could have [been] generated in Adolf Hitler's criminal mind.'"[55]


Appendix I: Palestinian Incitement from the Release of the Road Map to the Aqaba Summit

A. Arafat's Speech Marking International Day of the Child 2003, to Children of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees Held by Israel, The Muqata'a, Ramallah [56]

"Oh my dears, oh lion cubs [boys] of Palestine, oh, flowers [girls] of Palestine, oh, future of Palestine, oh power and splendor of Palestine.

"From you [came] the world hero, Fares 'Ouda. He is the symbol of the Palestinian people, who stands in heroism, pride, and willpower with the Palestinian stone facing the Israeli tank.

"This is the people of heroes that does not fear the tank, and does not fear the airplane, and does not fear the missile, and they cling to their place until Judgment Day. The Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'A group from among you will remain… standing on guard against your enemies. Their enemies will not triumph over them, and they will triumph, with Allah's help.'

"Thus it was said to the Messenger [Muhammad]: 'Where are they [the members of that group]? 'Who are they [the members of that group]?' [The Prophet Muhammad said]: '[They are] from Jerusalem its environs, from Jerusalem and its environs. And they stand [against their enemies] until Judgment Day, and every Shahid among them [is worth] 40 Shahids among you.'

"To whom did [the Prophet] say this? To his companions! He said to them: 'One Shahid from those [fighting for Jerusalem] is equal in value to 40 Shahids from [his companions]. This is the privilege Allah has given to you, oh boys and girls of Palestine…"

B. Friday Sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, Gaza Mosque - May 5, 2003[57]

"The Jews cannot influence the actions of our youth and children. But for you, Allah has chosen Shahada [martyrdom], in order to choose from among you the Shahids of the people of Palestine. Allah chose from amongst us Shahids, as the poet says: He who does not die by the sword dies in another way. Causes are many, while death is one. And the proof of this is, as Allah says: Death will reach you even in your beds. Those who were destined to die will be exposed, even in their beds. That is, they would die not by Shahada. Allah has honored our youth, our people, and our nation, by choosing you and by choosing from among you the Shahids, oh people of Palestine. Therefore, you are worthy to receive a blessing while you cling to this land…

"Is the Shahid dead like the other dead, which requires us to offer condolences and mourn with his family, friends, and relatives? Or is the Shahid enjoying virtues and the ability to perform miracles, which gives us the right to congratulate the Shahid and his family? The Shahid, oh servants of Allah, is not dead like all the other dead. Nay, we have no right to say about him that he is dead, and this is according to a decision from above seventh heaven, by Allah himself, as a privilege for the Shahids. This is mentioned in two Koran chapters… Allah forbids you to say that the Shahid is dead, saying [in the Koran]: 'Do not say that they who die for Allah are dead, rather they are alive, but you do not notice.' [169:3]

"We cannot imagine the [Shahids'] lives. They leave a wretched, base life in this world in order to ascend and live, next to Allah, a life that only Allah knows. The Shahids live next to Allah and they have the qualities of living people, and they are sustained as the living are in this world. But, oh believers, how great is the difference between this livelihood and that, how great is the difference between livelihood in this wretched and lowly world and the livelihood that Allah alone knows – there, near the throne of the Lord. Blessings to the Shahids, as they are alive, sustained next to their Lord. They are joyful as we are joyful in this world. But what a difference is there between our joy and theirs! There is a difference between our mundane joy and their joy, there in paradise; 'They are joyful in the grace that Allah has bestowed upon them.' Then they bring good tidings and seek good tidings for their brothers who have not joined them…

"They do not know the fear of this world, and they are not saddened, as they were sad in this world. There is no reason to worry about them, and they are not sad. They are the Shahids, the Shahids who are in the heavens, next to Allah… as the Shahids are indeed in the highest paradise. The superior qualities and miracles of the Shahids are too numerous to count, since Allah alone knows them. But, what do we know of these miracles?! Listen to the words of your Prophet when he counts the Shahid's virtues. Therefore, we have the right to congratulate the Shahids' families, and not extend condolences and sorrow for the Shahids, if they [sacrifice themselves] for Allah…

"Whoever fights so that the word of Allah will be supreme, fights for the sake of Allah. Therefore, these Shahids, by Allah, is it not enough for you that [such a Shahid] is forgiven with his first drop of blood? Is it not enough for you that the Shahid is saved from the agony of death, of which the Prophet said: Death involves agony from which no one is spared, except for the Shahids. Even the prophets, the messengers, and the angels, on the day of their death, are not spared this. But the Shahid is spared the agony of death. This is one of the miracles of the Shahid. Is it not enough that the Shahid… weds 72 black-eyed [virgins]? Is it not enough for the Shahid's family that he vouchsafe for 70 of his relatives? Is it not enough for the Shahid that they dress him in garments of glory on the day of resurrection?

"Is it not fitting for the Shahid that his soul lives inside the vitals of the green birds of paradise circling around the throne of honor? Is it not enough for the Shahid, that when Allah asks him what is his wish, he will be the only one to answer: I want to be returned to the world in order to be killed for You ten times, oh Lord. And Allah will say then: I have already ruled regarding them that they will not return to this world.

"When the Shahid sees the grace of martyrdom and death for the sake of Allah, he will wish to return to this world to be killed in it ten times. The Shahid, oh servants of Allah, dwells in the highest paradise, together with the righteous and the prophets. The Shahid – it is not enough for him that he does not feel the blow of the sword or the pain of death or of the killing, rather, as one of you feels a [wasp] sting, as in the words of the Prophet. This is the grace of the Shahid. The Shahid is in the heavens, with Allah. And blessings to our Shahids and may Allah have mercy on our Shahids and take them under His wing and avenge their blood…"

Appendix II: A Palestinian Peace Song

"Fly with the birds
It doesn't matter whatever your name is,
or who you are
Don't cry, thousands love you
Sing with me for peace

We are the tale
Our dreams, our souls
Tomorrow the spring will start
The pigeons will fly

My homeland, my mother
The people's suffering is mine
My heart is a little angel
Dreaming of peace
The pigeon's song

Oh freedom
It's my dream
Oh freedom
It's my melody
Oh freedom
My invocation in pray [sic]
Oh freedom
Oh my own

My wings are broken
My heart is crying
My soul is dreaming
Of a higher ground

My wings are broken
My heart is crying
My soul is dreaming
Of higher ground

Oh! pretty bird
Oh! butter fly [sic]
Take my hand
And help me fly
In my own sky

Oh freedom…
The morning started on birds' songs
New dreams fly over the sea
The morning started on birds' songs
New dreams fly over the sea

Oh my pretty bird
Oh, butter fly
Let's fly together
Always fly higher

Oh freedom…

The freedom stands on love
This is what the little boy told the girl
The sun rises like full moon [sic]
This is my soul (2x)
Express my love

Oh, my soul voice
Please answer my calls
And sing with me for peace.

Oh freedom…

Oh freedom…
Hear, O Lord
My invocation in pray [sic]." [58]

Appendix III: Cartoons

The following are examples of cartoons published in the Palestinian press: one that appeared the day after the No. 14 bus suicide bombing in Jerusalem, showing torn body parts of a man who blew up; Israel in the form of a spider; the U.S. as an octopus strangling Saddam Hussein and killing his two sons Uday and Qusay; Sharon as a child-murderer under the aegis of the U.S.; and Israel as a child murderer. Also included are cartoons with an antisemitic motif: Israel, represented by a bloodstained man wearing a skullcap, participates in an economic conference; and another of the Palestinian people and the Iraqi people crucified like the Jews allegedly crucified Jesus.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 12, 2003.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 30, 2003.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 24, 2003.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 24, 2003.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 17, 2003.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 23, 2003.

Al-Quds (PA), July 22, 2003.

Appendix IV:

Photos of children carrying weapons and of armed "resisters to the occupation" posted on the Palestinian National Authority State Information Service website :

* Y. Yehoshua and B.Chernitsky are Research Fellows at MEMRI.


[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 8, 2003.

[3] For more on Palestinian textbooks, see MEMRI Special Report No. 6, Narrating Palestinian Nationalism - A Study of the New Palestinian Textbooks, which presents a chapter educating on Shahada from a sixth-grade textbook. On p. 47 of the text are lines from a well-known national poem by poet Abd Al-Rahim Mahmoud: "The noble soul has two goals – death and the desire for it."

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 10, 2003.


[6] Palestinian Television (PA), July 28, 2003.

[7] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 7, 2003. For an example of incitement in mosques, see sermon by Sheikh Mudeiris, from about a month prior to the Aqaba summit, Appendix I.

[8] Al-Quds (PA), July 8, 2003.

[9] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 3, 2003. However, during a Cairo meeting with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, Abu Mazen said, "Harm to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and [other] Palestinian organizations is out of the question." (Al-Ayyam (PA), July 27, 2003)

[10] Al-Quds (PA), July 4, 2003, from an interview with Israel's Channel 1 television.

[11] .

[12] Al-Quds (PA), July 6, 2003.

[13] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 6, 2003.

[14] Al-Quds (PA), July 15, 2003; Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 10, 2003.

[15] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 4, 2003.

[16] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 4, 2003.

[17] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 4, 2003.

[18] Palestinian Television, July 24, 2003.

[19] Omar bin Al-Khattab (d. 644) was the second caliph.

[20] Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyoubi took Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187-1188.

[21] Palestinian Television (PA), August 15, 2003.

[22] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Al-Ayyam (PA), Al Quds (PA), June 13, 2003.

[23] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 10, 2003.

[24] Al-Quds (PA), July 4, 2003.

[25] Al-Quds (PA), July 18, 2003.

[26] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 17, 2003.

[27] Al-Khansaa bint Omar was a poet from the pre-Islamic period who converted to Islam during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. She is considered the mother of the Shahids, as after her four children died in the Al-Qadissiyya battle she did not mourn them but thanked Allah who had honored her with their death.

[28] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 7, 2003.

[29] Fares Ouda was a 13-year-old Palestinian boy from Gaza City who was photographed throwing stones at an IDF tank and was subsequently shot and killed, in November 2000. He became a Palestinian icon.

[30] Al-Quds (PA), July 7, 2003.

[31] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 26, 2003.

[32] Rami Sa'ad died May 1, 2003 during an encounter with the IDF in the Al-Shuja'iyya neighborhood in Gaza city. According to Juha, "Rami was one of the members of Unit 103 that carried out many military operations and that had the honor of carrying out the first bombing of the first Zionist tank in the Al-Aqsa Intifada, and this event was filmed." The filmed event, in which Rami and his comrades are seen blowing up an Israeli tank, is posted on Juha's Web site, the address of which is printed in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. See: Filastin Al-Muslima (London), July 2003.

[33] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 7, 2003.

[34] See: . .

[35] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 18, 2003. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 10, 2003.

[36] Al-Quds (PA), August 14, 2003.

[37] Although the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades belongs to Fatah, it has carried out many suicide/martyrdom operations during the Intifada, many of them within the Green Line.

[38] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 18, 2003.

[39] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 18, 2003.

[40] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2003.

[41] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 22, 2003.

[42] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 22, 2003.

[43] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA) July 22, 2003.

[44] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 29, 2003.

[45] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 19, 2003.

[46] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 21, 2003.

[47] Apparently a reference to Ja'far Ibn Abu Talb, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who was known as Al-Tayyar and considered a paragon of self-sacrifice. He was famed for his determination in battle, and was killed in the Battle of Al-Mu'ta in 630 after fighting with his left hand after his right hand was cut off, until his left hand was cut off too.

[48] Al-Quds (PA), July 10, 2003.

[49] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 21, 2003.

[50] Al-Quds (PA), July 31, 2003.

[51] PA Television (PA), July 10, 2003.

[52] Al-Quds (PA), July 31, 2003.

[53] .

[54] .

[55] This quote was taken from Grace Halsell's Prophecy and Politics (1996).

[56] Palestinian Television, June 1, 2003.

[57] Palestinian Television, May 5, 2003.

[58] Palestinian Television (PA), July 28, 2003.

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