As it does every year, the Palestinian Authority (PA) marked Palestinian Martyr Day (January 6) with events and activities glorifying the ethos of armed resistance against Israel and the actions of the "martyrs," including terrorists who killed Israeli civilians and soldiers. This year the PA's Higher Council for Youth and Sports, headed by Fatah Central Committee secretary Jibril Rajoub, marked the day by launching a commemoration project sponsored by PA President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas, in which a tree will be planted for every Palestinian martyr. At the launching ceremony, attended by Palestinian officials, trees were planted for terrorists like Islamic Jihad secretary-general Fathi Al-Shqaqi; Dalal Al-Mughrabi, deputy commander of the Coastal Road massacre, in which 35 Israeli civilians were killed, and Bilal 'Adnan Rawajba, a Palestinian Preventive Security officer who carried out a shooting attack in November 2020. In addition, the PA press and Fatah's social media pages published statements and articles praising the martyrs and presenting them as sources of pride and emblems of Palestinian liberty.
This report reviews some of the PA's Martyr Day events and articles published on the occasion in the PA media.
Tree-Planting Project Commemorating Terrorists, Sponsored By President 'Abbas
As stated, the PA's Higher Council for Youth and Sports, headed by Fatah Central Committee secretary Jibril Rajoub, marked the day by launching a commemoration project sponsored by President 'Abbas, in which olive trees will be planted in the martyrs' memory in all the PA governorates, "from Jenin to Rafah," during 2021. Named "Living and Surviving," the project was launched with a ceremony in Independence Park in the Ramallah, attended by family members of martyrs and by Fatah, PLO and PA officials, including Jibril Rajoub, Fatah Central Committee members Sabri Saidam and 'Abbas Zaki, and PLO Executive Committee members Wasel Abu Yousuf and Saleh Rafat.
During the ceremony, trees were planted in memory of prominent terrorists such as Islamic Jihad secretary-general Fathi Al-Shqaqi; Dalal Al-Mughrabi, who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which 35 Israeli civilians were killed, and who is commemorated by the PA in numerous ways, and Bilal 'Adnan Rawajba, a Palestinian Preventive Security officer who carried out a shooting attack only several months ago, on November 4, 2020.
The following are photos of the ceremony:
Palestinian officials attend the ceremony
Children planting trees in memory of martyrs
Planting a tree in memory of terrorist Bilal 'Adnan Rawajba
Signs commemorating the martyrs, to be placed on the newly-planted trees; one of them commemorates Dalal Al-Mughrabi
It should be mentioned that Fatah's Facebook page also posted an image of "The martyr Dalal Al-Mughrabi" on her birthday, December 29, captioned "The Road to the Homeland."
Fatah Statement Commemorates Killers Of Israeli Soldier: The Pride Of The Palestinian Movement And People
On Martyrs Day, Fatah also marked the 39th anniversary of the incarceration of the cousins Karim and Maher Younis, who abducted and murdered Israeli soldier Abraham Bromberg in 1980. Karim Younis, called "the eldest of the prisoners," is a leader of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails and is venerated by the PA; in 2017 he was even elected to Fatah's Central Committee. On January 6, as part of Fatah's and the PLO's ongoing policy of honoring the cousins in various ways, Fatah's Revolutionary Council published a statement praising their "honorable struggle and legendary steadfastness."
The statement read: "The Fatah Revolutionary Council praises the history of honorable struggle and legendary steadfastness of the prisoners Karim and Maher Younis, on the 39th anniversary of their imprisonment… After such a long time behind bars, they are considered to be the longest-serving prisoners in the world. The Council stresses that the sacrifice and steadfastness of Karim and Maher Younis, and their commitment to their courageous positions and to the values and principles of the [Palestinian] revolution and of the national prisoners' movement, are an emblem and source of pride, esteemed by the [Palestinian] leadership, by all sectors of our people and by all the freedom-lovers in the world… The Council demands the immediate intervention of the international community to bring about their release… [for] releasing them is a moral and legal responsibility of the international community and one of the top priorities for the [Palestinian] people and for President Mahmoud 'Abbas. [Fatah's] Revolutionary Council has promised its imprisoned member Karim Younis and the imprisoned commander Maher Younis - who are a source of pride for Fatah - and all of our brave prisoners that the [Fatah] movement will follow the path of the martyrs and prisoners and will not stray from it until victory is achieved."
Palestinian News Agency WAFA: "The Martyrs Are The Pride Of Our People, Emblems Of Freedom And Sacrifice"
An article published by the PA's official news agency WAFA on the occasion of Martyrs Day stated: "Today the Palestinian people marks [Martyrs] Day everywhere by visiting the martyrs' graves, placing wreaths at their monuments, and holding mass rallies and marches. Palestinian Martyrs Day goes to the very heart of the Palestinian cause, which has roused the sentiments of the entire Arab nation, whose land was watered by the blood of the Palestinian martyrs, and of the freedom-lovers around the world who sacrificed their lives under the banner of the Palestinian revolution… in the quest for liberty, independence and return. The martyrs are the pride of our people, emblems of freedom and sacrifice. They are the undying stars in our firmament. They, who perfumed our land with their red fragrant blood, are the most honorable of us all. They are a testament to the terrorism and crimes of the occupation, and to our rights that will never expire."
Columnist In PA Daily: Jesus Was The First Palestinian Martyr And Fidai
In a January 7, 2020 article, Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar, who writes for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, drew a connection between Martyrs Day and Christmas, which falls on January 7 according to the Julian calendar. Comparing the Palestinian martyrs and their sacrifice to those of Jesus, whom he called "the first Palestinian martyr and fidai," he wrote: "The martyr's physical body disappears forever, but his spirit shines upon us every morning and he [remains] very close. The martyrs are suns, guiding stars, lighthouses that show us that this is the homeland and that every part of it is a safe haven [for us]. The martyrs are heroes who fought and struggled for our sake. They are forever engraved in our memory, our heart, our soul and our mind. They sacrificed [their lives] to arouse our honor and pride and so that we prevent the tyrants from taking over our present and future…
"O [our] martyr, Jesus son of Mary, glorious messenger, and the [other] eternal martyrs of glorious Palestine! How sacred is your [memorial] day… Two eternal days coincide: the birthday of the messenger of peace and love, the glorious Jesus son of Mary… and the day on which we [remember] the names of the heroes of this land who sacrificed [their lives] so that we can live. They are martyrs one and all.
"[Jesus] the Messiah, the first [Palestinian] martyr and fidai, taught us that love and peace are the way, that life is full of goodness and we must seek it until the very last moment. The martyrs taught us how to enshrine the homeland forever in the heart of its people…"
 For other examples of activities carried out by the Higher Council for Youth and Sports, see MEMRI reports: Special Dispatch No. 8485 - Palestinian Authority, Fatah Hold Military Training Camp For Girls, Named After Imprisoned Terrorist Karim Younis – January 10, 2020; Special Dispatch No. 7980 - Palestinian Authority, Fatah Continue Official Support And Encouragement Of Armed Struggle Against Israel – April 2, 2019; Special Dispatch No. 7282 - Palestinian Authority Honors Two Prisoners Serving Life Sentences For Kidnapping, Murder Of Israeli Soldier; Representative For PA President 'Abbas: 'The Two Prisoners Are A National Example' – January 16, 2018; Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1334 - 2017 Summer Camps In The Palestinian Authority – Part I: Military Training, Glorification Of 'Martyrs' In Camps Run By Higher Council For Youth And Sports Headed By Jibril Rajoub – August 29, 2017.
 Facebook.com/hcyspalestine, January 6, 2021.
 For examples, see e.g., MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8773 – Palestinian Authority, Fatah Continue To Glorify Terrorists Who Carried Out Attacks Against Civilians, June 1, 2020.
 Facebook.com/hcyspalestine, January 6, 2021.
 Facebook.com/officialfateh1965, December 29, 2020.
 See e.g., Special Dispatch No. 8485 - Palestinian Authority, Fatah Hold Military Training Camp For Girls, Named After Imprisoned Terrorist Karim Younis – January 10, 2020; Special Dispatch No. 7980 - Palestinian Authority, Fatah Continue Official Support And Encouragement Of Armed Struggle Against Israel – April 2, 2019; Special Dispatch No. 7282 - Palestinian Authority Honors Two Prisoners Serving Life Sentences For Kidnapping, Murder Of Israeli Soldier; Representative For PA President 'Abbas: 'The Two Prisoners Are A National Example' – January 16, 2018.
 Wafa.ps, January 6, 2021.
 Wafa.ps, January 6, 2021.
 Matar and others have made this comparison in the past. See e.g., MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7825 – Palestinian Authority Daily On Christmas 2018: Jesus Was 'The First Martyr And Fidai,' 'The Loyal Son Of Palestine,' Symbol Of The Palestinian National Struggle Against The Distorters Of Judaism, Who Was Persecuted And Crucified By Them, January 2, 2018.
 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), January 7, 2020.