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memri
October 28, 2019 No.
8336

Palestinian Authority President 'Abbas Orders To Rebuild Home Of Mother Of Six Terrorists; Palestinian PM Praises Her

Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas recently issued instructions to rebuild the home of Latifa Abu Hmeid, the mother of six terrorists who were involved in shooting and suicide attacks against Israelis. Abu Hmeid's home, in the Al-Am'ari refugee camp in the Ramallah-Al-Bireh governorate, has been demolished by Israel four times following attacks by her sons. The third time was in December 2018, after Latifa's son, Islam Abu Hmeid, killed an Israeli soldier. 'Abbas issued instructions to rebuild it, [1] but before the reconstruction was complete Israel demolished the house again, following which 'Abbas again ordered its rebuilding. This latest decision was announced on October 24, 2019 by Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs and Fatah official Hussein Al-Sheikh on his Twitter page. On the same day Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh visited Latifa Abu Hmeid and praised her for her "steadfastness."

As stated, six of Abu Hmeid's sons, members of Fatah and Hamas, were involved in the murder of Israelis. 'Abd Al-Mun'im Abu Hmeid was active in the Hamas military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, and was killed by Israel. He assisted in the murder of three Israelis in the West Bank on December 14, 1990 and the murder of another Israeli on February 13, 1994. Nasser Abu Hmeid, one of the founders of Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, was a deputy to Marwan Barghouti, Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank during the Second Intifada, and took an active part in the lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah on October 12, 2000. He is serving seven consecutive life sentences and an additional 50 years for the murder of seven Israelis and 12 additional attempted murders. Sharif Abu Hmeid was active in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and supplied weapons and assistance for the execution of terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during February and March 2002. He is serving four consecutive life sentences. Muhammad Abu Hmeid is serving two consecutive life sentences plus 30 years for planning suicide attacks for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Nasr Abu Hmeid was active with Nasser in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for planning suicide attacks. Islam Abu Hmeid is serving a life sentence for killing an Israeli soldier by dropping a slab of marble from the roof of a building in Al-Am'ari in May 2018. In 2004-2009 he served a prison sentence for a shooting attack he perpetrated on behalf of Hamas. Another son, Jihad Abu Hmeid, is currently detained in Israel.

Latifa Abu Hmeid, aka Umm Nasser, is frequently honored by Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, including President 'Abbas, who visit her and encourage her. She is known among the Palestinians as "the Khansa' of Palestine," after 7th century Arabic poet Al-Khansa' bint 'Amr, who was called "The Mother of the Martyrs" because she did not mourn the death of her four sons in the Battle of Qadisiyah, but rather thanked Allah for honoring her with their martyrdom.

This report presents responses by PA and Fatah to the demolition of Latifa Abu Hmeid's home and statements in her praise made recently and over the years.

'Abbas Orders Reconstruction Of The Abu Hmeid Family Home

'Abbas's recent decision to rebuild the house was tweeted by Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister and Fatah Central Committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh several hours after the last demolition of the house. He wrote: "According to the decision of the Honorable President ['Abbas], the home of the Abu Hmeid family, which the occupation forces have demolished, will be rebuilt [again]. The bulldozers of the occupation will never break us. We will never succumb to them and never bow [our heads]. Our will is stronger than their tanks and bulldozers, and victory [will be] ours."[2]


Hussein Al-Sheikh's tweet

Latifa Abu Hmeid Thanks 'Abbas For Rebuilding The House, Says, "As Long As There Is Occupation, We Will Resist It"

The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quoted Latifa Abu Hmeid as saying in response to the demolition of her home: "This is our land and this is our home. As long as there is occupation, we will resist it and we will rebuild our homes. Stones are not more precious than our martyred sons." She thanked 'Abbas for his decision to rebuild the house and provide her and her family with alternative housing in the interim, adding that he is following their situation and has never and will never abandon them.[3]

Palestinian PM To Latifa Abu Hmeid: You Are A Model Of Steadfastness; I Hope One Day To Visit You In Your Home In Jerusalem

 On the same day, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh visited Latifa in her home in the Al-Am'ari refugee camp. He called her a model of Palestinian steadfastness and expressed hope that he would one day visit her family in their new home in Jerusalem. He said: "I relay the greetings of President Mahmoud 'Abbas, and stress to you that we will fulfill our commitments to our prisoners and martyrs and their families. This issue is at the heart of our agenda and is the focus of our attention, and we will rebuild what the occupation has destroyed." He added: "Umm Nasser [Latifa Abu Hmeid] schools [us] in patience, and teaches us determination and steadfastness. With Allah's help, we will once day visit you in your home in Jerusalem."[4]

It should be noted that photos of Shtayyeh's visit to Latifa's home show that the walls of the house are adorned with posters glorifying her sons, who, as stated, were all involved in shooting and suicide attacks against Israelis.


Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh visits Latifa Abu Hmeid in her home (Source: Alwatanvoice.com, October 24, 2019)

Praise For Latifa Abu Hmeid On Fatah's Official Facebook Page

Following the demolition of the house, Fatah's official Facebook page posted announcements in her praise. An October 24, 2019 post said: "Umm Nasser, an oak tree of giving and loyalty, is rooted in her home and her homeland like an olive tree, and is as patient as a mountain rock. She is the spirit of determination, and she teaches the enemy a lesson in failure whenever they try to shatter her determination... [If they try], they will be disappointed again and again."[5]


The post on Fatah's Facebook page

Ongoing Praise For Latifa Abu Hmeid By 'Abbas, Fatah Officials

As mentioned above, Fatah officials, including 'Abbas, have often praised and honored Latifa Abu Hmeid, describing her as a paragon of Palestinian womanhood. 'Abbas has met with her several times. In a meeting on April 25, 2018, Latifa thanked him for "his support of the prisoners and devoted care for their families"; 'Abbas said: "There will be no peace agreement [with Israel] without the liberation of all the prisoners and detainees... for the issue of the prisoners is at the heart of the conflict, and Israel is trying to wage war against us using our [imprisoned] children." Fatah Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki, who was also present at the meeting, said: "Umm Nasser [Abu] Hmeid is the mother of five prisoners. She is a great woman with an [iron] will. She is the Khansa' of Palestine and we regard her with pride as a role model for the women of Palestine." In a meeting with Latifa Abu Hmeid one year earlier, on April 28, 2017, 'Abbas said, "The issue of the prisoners is at the top of the Palestinian agenda."[6]


'Abbas meets with Latifa Abu Hmeid (Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA, April 29, 2017)

On July 9, 2019, Palestinian Culture Minister and former Fatah spokesman 'Atef Abu Saif visited Latifa in her home, at the head of a delegation of Arab authors and poets organized by the PA. During this visit, Abu Saif said words in her praise, and Syrian author Khalil Al-Nu'aimi read out a letter of support for her on behalf of the Arab authors and poets.[7]

In December 2018, after the previous demolition of the Abu Hmeid family home, senior Fatah officials, including the movement's deputy chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul and Central Committee member Jamal Al-Muhaisen, came to pay their respects to Latifa and her family. Al-'Aloul stressed that, "Umm Nasser is the mother of us all...We are all have a duty to care for her and rebuild her home..." As stated, then too 'Abbas instructed to rebuild the house.[8] 

On June 17, 2018 'Abbas Zaki visited Latifa Abu Hmeid on the occasion of 'Id Al-Fitr, and said: "This mother, who with steadfastness and forbearance has borne suffering that even mountains cannot bear, and who has sacrificed her heroic sons for the sake of the homeland... This mother is the crown on all our heads, and she is a model for Palestinian mothers. We bow before her willpower and her determination."[9]


Latifa Abu Hmeid with three of her imprisoned sons, Nasr, Nasser and Muhammad Abu Hmeid (Source: Twitter.com/MohamdNashwan, June 15, 2018)

 


[2] Twitter.com/HusseinSheikhpl, October 24, 2019.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), October 25, 2019.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), October 25, 2019.

[5] Facebook.com/officialfateh1965, October 24, 2019.