January 31, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10449

Palestinian Authority And Fatah, Headed By President 'Abbas, Laud Two Terrorists Who Kidnapped And Murdered Israeli Soldier In The Hadera Area In 1980: National Role Models And Inspirational Symbols

January 31, 2023
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10449

Israeli Arab terrorists Karim Yunis and his cousin Maher Yunis were recently released after serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 1980 kidnapping and murder of Avraham Bromberg, an Israeli soldier who was on his way from his army base to his home in Zichron Ya'akov. Upon their release, senior officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling party Fatah, including President Mahmoud 'Abbas, congratulated them, showered them with praise and presented them as "role models" and "sources of inspiration" for the Palestinians. 'Abbas personally phoned to congratulate the two men and described them as Palestinian "dignitaries" and "icons" and as "a source of pride and inspiration" for the Palestinian people. A senior Fatah delegation visited their home in the Israeli Arab village of 'Ara to welcome and support them. Statements released by the Fatah movement championed Karim Yunis as "an authentic symbol for all the world freedom-lovers" owing to his "legendary steadfastness," and Maher Yunis as "a national model" of "resistance to the occupation."

President 'Abbas and other Palestinian leaders took this opportunity to reiterate their commitment to the Palestinian prisoners as a high-priority issue, which is expressed in their ongoing payments to prisoners and to their families as a reward for and encouragement of terrorist activity. It should be noted that Karim and Maher Yunis themselves each received payments from the PA over the years totaling NIS 335,362.[1]

Praise for Karim and Maher Yunis was also expressed in numerous articles published in the PA mouthpiece, the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily, which glorified their "steadfastness" during the long years of their imprisonment and described them as role models. In fact, the PA and the Fatah leadership glorified and honored the cousins in different ways even before their release, during their years of imprisonment, describing them as "symbols" of the Palestinian national struggle and as role paragons of "steadfastness." In 2017, Karim Yunis was appointed a member of the Fatah Central Committee, the movement's executive arm, which is headed by President 'Abbas.[2]

Graphic on the Facebook page of the PA television channel: Cousins Karim and Maher Yunis are free after 40 years (Source:, January 19, 2023)

This report reviews the praise showered on the two terrorists by senior PA and Fatah officials upon their release from prison.

PA President And Fatah Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas To Karim And Maher Yunis: You Are A Source Of Pride And Inspiration For The Palestinian People

On January 5, 2023, after his release and his return to his village, 'Ara, Karim Yunis was congratulated by senior PA and Fatah officials, including PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas, who said that "the fighter Karim Yunis is one of the symbols of the steadfastness of our Palestinian people and of all those who strive for freedom in the world." 'Abbas asserted that "the cause of the prisoners is the cause of the entire Palestinian people and is at the top of our priority list," and added: "We will continue to make every possible effort to liberate them from the prisons of the Israeli occupation."[3]

'Abbas made similar remarks on the same day at a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee, saying: "Today we welcomed the oldest of the prisoners, Karim Yunis, who spent 40 years in the prisons of the occupation. There is no precedent of such a [prison] term either in modern times or in ancient history, for we have never heard of anyone spending 40 years in prison. We therefore congratulate ourselves and we congratulate him. Today we phoned him and his family, wished him a long and happy life, and acknowledged his struggle and his steadfastness during this period… We yearn for the day the prisons will be emptied and the homeland will be liberated."[4]

When Maher Yunis was released on January 19, 2023, 'Abbas phoned to congratulate "the oldest of the Palestinian and Arab prisoners, the fighter Maher Yunis," and told him: "Welcome! I am with you in heart and soul, and I am happy to see you free from the occupation prison, although you were a free man even in prison." 'Abbas wished him "health and success" and added, "May Allah give you health and success and compensate you for all your endeavors and efforts – the likes of which have never been invested by anyone, except by Karim [Yunis]… You and Karim are dignitaries of the Palestinian people. We are proud of you. May Allah give you health! You are the beacons of this nation. You are icons for the Palestinian people, you Maher, and brother Karim… With Allah's help, we will liberate ourselves from the occupation and a Palestinian state will be established whose capital will be Jerusalem – and no other capital in its stead – and then I will visit 'Ara and congratulate you." 'Abbas stated further that "the Palestinian people have lived on this land for 5,000 years and are its owners, and no one can usurp their right to it under any circumstances."

Maher Yunis thanked 'Abbas for his remarks, and said that the 40 years he had spent in prison were like a "bride price" paid "for freeing and liberating Palestine from the occupation."[5]

For excerpts from 'Abbas' phone conversations with the Yunis cousins, see MEMRI TV clip:

PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh Praises "The Fighter Karim Yunis"

PA Prime Minister and Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Shtayyeh likewise congratulated "the fighter Karim Yunis" on the occasion of his release from prison. He added that "all the [Palestinians], both men and women, in the prisons of the occupation will receive their freedom" and called on the international human rights organization to intervene for their release. He continued, "Oh Karim, you have emerged from the stomach of the whale and from the darkness of the prison cells into the [light] of the sun of Palestine, and soon into the liberated homeland… We are very happy and even prouder of your steadfastness. May the reunion with the rest of your brothers [the Palestinian prisoners] take place in liberated Jerusalem."[6]

Reception for released prisoner Karim Yunis (image:, January 5, 2023)

Shtayyeh also congratulated Maher Yunis on his release from prison, saying: "Maher Yunis, and Karim Yunis before him, are breathing the air of freedom after enduring the torment of prison and the oppression of the jailers. This proves that the prisoner inevitably defeats the jailer, that freedom [defeats] the heavy bonds and the light [defeats] the darkness."[7]

The front page of the PA mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida from January 5, 2023: "Today Karim Yunis Breathes the Air of Freedom after 40 Years in Prison" (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA, January 5, 2023)

Fatah Movement: Yunis Cousins Are Symbols Of Steadfastness, National Models Of "Resistance To Occupation"

The Fatah Central Committee also congratulated "the commander Karim Yunis, who is a member of the committee and the world's most veteran prisoner," on his release and asserted that, "with his legendary steadfastness, Karim Yunis is an authentic symbol for all those in the world who strive for freedom and who have decided to oppose tyranny, oppression and racism… The path of the struggle will continue until the liberation of Palestine and all the prisoners…"[8]

On January 19 Fatah's Central Committee also congratulated "the national fighter Maher Yunis, who was released today from the occupation jail after 40 years of imprisonment, during which he was a national role model and a symbol that will continue to provide inspiration to our people." The committee stressed that "the release of our men and women from the occupation prisons is a national priority for the movement and its leadership."[9]

A similar message was issued the same day by the Fatah Communications, Culture and Ideological Mobilization Commission: "[The day] of the release of the imprisoned commander Maher Yunis is a glorious day in the history of the Palestinian National Movement… The prisoner Yunis, who breathes [the air of] freedom after a sentence of 40 years, has been a national role model since he joined the Fatah movement and [began] participating in the resistance activity against the occupation…"[10]

A delegation of senior Fatah officials headed by Central Committee Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul and Central Committee members 'Azzam Al-Ahmad and Rawhi Fattouh visited the Israeli Arab village of 'Ara on January 7 and met with Karim Yunis and the mother of Maher Yunis.[11]

Fatah delegation visits Karim Yunis and the mother of Maher Yunis (image:, January 7, 2023)

For statements made by Karim Yunis during the delegation's visit, see MEMRI TV clip:


[1], September 18, 2022. For more information about financial assistance provided by the PA to prisoners, released prisoners, and the families of prisoners and martyrs, see MEMRI Reports: Special Dispatch No. 9436, Palestinian Authority Introduces New System For Payment Of Allowances To Terrorists And Their Families; Recipients Will Now Withdraw Funds From Postal Bank Via ATMs In Post Offices, July 8, 2021; Special Dispatch 9380, Palestinian President 'Abbas Grants $42,000 To Family Of Terrorist Who Killed Two Israeli Civilians, June 7, 2021; Special Dispatch 7980 Palestinian Authority, Fatah Continue Official Support And Encouragement Of Armed Struggle Against Israel, April 2, 2019; Special Dispatch 7583, Palestinian Authority (PA) President 'Abbas: 'If We Had Only A Single Penny Left, We Would Pay It To Families Of The Martyrs And Prisoners', July 24, 2018; Special Dispatch 7100, 'Abbas Ahead Of UNGA Speech: I Will Continue Payments To Families Of Prisoners And Martyrs, September 20, 2017; Special Dispatch 7070, Palestinian Media Stresses: President Mahmoud 'Abbas Refuses To Halt Payments To Prisoners, Families Of Martyrs, August 28, 2017; Inquiry & Analysis Series 1321, Palestinian Authority, PLO Officials: Allowances To Prisoners Will Continue; 'This Issue Is Not Subject To U.S.-Israeli Extortion', June 16, 2017; Special Dispatch 8042, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Palestinian Authority Facing Financial Crisis, But We Refuse To Accept Money From Israel If Salary Of Martyrs' Families Is Deducted, May 1, 2019; Special Dispatch 7736, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: We Will Continue To Pay The Families Of Martyrs, Prisoners, And The Wounded; There Are Six Million Palestinian Refugees, October 30, 2018; Clip No. 6179, Former Chief Palestinian Negotiator Nabil Shaath: We Will Not Stop Payment to Prisoners and Their Families, August 27, 2017. The amounts paid by the PA to prisoners, released prisoners and the families of martyrs is detailed at length in a testimony by Yigal Carmon, MEMRI president and co-founder, before the U.S. Congress on July 6, 2016. See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 97, MEMRI President Yigal Carmon's Testimony To House Committee On Foreign Affairs, July 6, 2016: Palestinian Authority Support For Imprisoned, Released, And Wounded Terrorists And Families Of 'Martyrs', July 6, 2016. For the contradictory messages provided by the PA in Arabic and in English on the issue of changing the system of payment to prisoners and their relatives, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series 1544, Shift In Palestinian Authority's Policy Towards Israel Following Biden Electoral Win, Arab Peace Agreements With Israel, December 22, 2020.

[3], January 5, 2023.

[4], January 5, 2023.

[5], January 5, 2023.

[6], January 19, 2023.

[7], January 19, 2023.

[8], January 5, 2023.

[9], January 19, 2023.

[10], January 5, 2023.

[11], January 7, 2023. Following the visit Israel revoked their entry permits. 

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