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memri
July 16, 2019 No.
8173

Palestinian Culture Minister To Mother Of Six Terrorists: You Are A Model Of Defiance Against Israel

On July 9, 2019, Palestinian Culture Minister and former Fatah spokesman 'Atef Abu Saif paid a visit to the home of Latifa Abu Hmeid, known as Umm Nasser, in the Al-A'mari refugee camp in the Ramallah-Al-Bireh governorate, at the head of a delegation of Arab authors and poets organized by the Palestinian Authority (PA).[1]  Latifa Abu Hmeid is the mother of six Fatah and Hamas terrorists who were involved in shooting and suicide attacks against Israelis. One of them, 'Abd Al-Mun'im, 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. Four other sons are serving consecutive life sentences in Israeli prisons: Nasser, one of the founders of the Fatah military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, was a deputy to Marwan Barghouti, Fatah's 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 attempted murders. Sharif was active in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and supplied weapons and assistance for the perpetration of terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during February and March 2002. He is serving four consecutive life sentences. Muhammad is serving two consecutive life sentences plus 30 years for planning suicide attacks for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. A fourth son, Nasr, was active with Nasser in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for planning suicide attacks. The sixth son, Islam, is serving a life sentence for killing an Israeli soldier in May 2018, after in 2004-2009 he served time for involvement in Hamas shooting attacks.

Latifa Abu Hmeid is also dubbed "The Khansaa of Palestine," after the early Islamic poet Al-Khansaa bint 'Omar, who is called "the Mother of the Martyrs" because when her four sons died in the battle of Al-Qadasiyya (637) she did not mourn them but thanked Allah for "honoring her with their deaths."

During the visit, Minister Abu Saif praised Latifa Abu Hmeid, and Syrian author Khalil Al-Nu'aimi read out a letter of support for her on behalf of the Arab authors and poets.[2]


Palestinian Culture Minister 'Atef Abu Saif (second from right) with Latifa Abu Hmeid (source: moc.pna.ps, July 9, 2019)

It should be mentioned that PA and Fatah officials, including Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas, have met with Latifa Abu Hmeid in the past to express their appreciation and encouragement, and that her family receives aid from both Fatah and Hamas.

The following are details about the recent visit paid by Palestinian and Arab figures to the home of Latifa Abu Hmeid and about past statements and events honoring her and her family.

Palestinian Culture Minister: Latifa Abu Hmeid Is "A Model Of Defiance And Perseverance"

During the July 9, 2019 visit with Abu Hmeid, Culture Minister Abu Saif said that the Arab writers had come to express their support for "this steadfast Palestinian woman who is a model of defiance and perseverance," adding that his ministry was acting to "document the Palestinian narrative and refute the narrative of the occupation by means of our ambassadors, the authors and poets who support the Palestinian cause."[3]

Syrian Author Khalil Al-Nu'aimi: Latifa Abu Hmeid Is "An Unforgettable Emblem Of Resistance"

Syrian Author Khalil Al-Nu'aimi read out a "letter of regard and appreciation" on behalf of the writers, which stated: "On behalf of all the Arab writers who defied the Zionist entity and came to Palestine to participate in the Arab Novel Conference [held in Ramallah on July 8-12, 2019], thereby expressing their solidarity with the struggles of the proud Palestinian people, we, Arab writers [belonging to] different countries, ethnicities and religions, express our deep regard and appreciation for you, our noble, steadfast and patient lady known as the Khansaa of Palestine, for your boundless steadfastness in the face of the occupation and for being an unforgettable emblem of every kind of resistance against the arrogance, racism and tyranny of the Zionists... We wish you, your imprisoned sons and all the Palestinian prisoners in the jails of the Zionist occupation freedom, a dignified life and return to the homeland."[4]


The authors' and poets' delegation at the home of Latifa Abu Hmeid (Source: alwatanvoice.com, July 9, 2019.

Past Displays Of Respect For Latifa Abu Hmeid By 'Abbas And Fatah Officials Over The Years

As stated, this is not the first time Fatah and PA officials, including President 'Abbas, have praised and honored Latifa Abu Hmeid, lauding her as a paragon of Palestinian womanhood. On December 15, 2018, 'Abbas ordered to rebuild her home, which was demolished by the Israeli army after her son Islam killed an Israeli soldier. Subsequently, Fatah officials, including the movement's deputy chair, Mahmoud Al-'Aloul and Central Committee member Jamal Al-Muhaisen, visited her and her family to pay their respects. Al-'Aloul said: "'Umm Nasser is the mother of us all...We are all have a duty to care for her and rebuild her home..."[5]

Several months earlier, 'Abbas met with Latifa Abu Hmeid. During the meeting she thanked him for "his support of prisoners and his close tending of their families," and he said: "There will be no peace agreement without the release of all the prisoners and detainees… for the issue of the prisoners is the heart of the conflict, and Israel is trying to wage war against us through our children." 'Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, who was also present at the meeting, said, "Umm Nasser [Abu] Hmeid is the mother of five prisoners, and she is 'the Al-Khansaa of Palestine.' She is a woman of virtue and willpower of whom we are proud as a symbol of the women of Palestine."  'Abbas also met with Latifa in April 2017, on which occasion he stated that "the prisoner problem is at the top of the Palestinian agenda."[6]

On June 17, 2018, Zaki paid an 'Eid Al-Fitr visit to Abu Hmeid's home, during which he 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 homeland... this mother is the crown on all our heads, and she is a model for Palestinian mothers, and we bow before her willpower and her determination."[7]


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

 

[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 10, 2019.

[2] Wattan.tv, July 9, 2019.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 10, 2019.

[4] Wattan.tv, July 9, 2019.