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memri
April 19, 2016 No.
6392

Palestinian Factions React To Jerusalem Bus Bombing: Fatah Speakers Justify It, Hamas And Other Factions Praise It

On April 18, 2016, a bomb went off on a No. 12 bus in Jerusalem, wounding 21 people. This attack follows a period of relative calm in terms of Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Thus far, Palestinian Authority officials have issued no condemnation of the attack. Moreover, reports that Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh had condemned the attack were denied by Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi.

All the Palestinian factions have justified the attack: Fatah claimed that it was a natural response to Israel's actions, and Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other factions welcomed the attack and expressed enthusiastic support for it. Additionally, many gloating posters and cartoons were posted on social media.

Following is a review of reactions to the attack, in the Palestinian press and by Palestinian officials:

Fatah Spokesmen: Attack Is A "Natural Response" To Israel's Actions

Statements by Fatah spokesmen indicated that the movement is not condemning the attack, and is even justifying it.

Fatah Jerusalem spokesman Ra'fat 'Alian called the attack a "natural response" to Israel's actions. He said: "What happened today on the Israeli bus in occupied Jerusalem was a natural response to the killing, arrests, and siege carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people, as well as to its repeated incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque... If Israel is seeking a security solution, [it must know] that there can be no security solutions with the Palestinian people. The only solution is for Israel to implement the legitimate international resolutions."[1]

Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi denied a claim by Hamas that Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh had condemned the attack, stating: "The Hamas media is expert at lies, falsifications, and forgeries. Several Hamas news agencies spread lies about an alleged statement by the fighter Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemning the blast in occupied Jerusalem." According to Al-Qawasmi, Abu Rudeineh said nothing about the Jerusalem attack, and added that statements by Palestinian officials are only issued by the official Wafa news agency. He called on Hamas to "cease these infantile methods and blatant falsehoods."[2]

Concurrently, the Facebook page of the 'Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon posted a flier bearing the Fatah logo and expressing enthusiastic support for the attack. It showed an image of the burning bus with the title: "Greetings from the Palestinian people on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Passover."


Flier with Fatah logo on the 'Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp's Facebook page (Facebook.com/AismatShatatAinAlHelwe, April 19, 2016)

Hamas, PIJ, Other Factions Praise "Heroic Action" That Proves That The Intifada Is Continuing

The bombing was widely covered in Hamas media, which, along with PIJ and other factions, expressed enthusiastic support for the attack, and even called it a turning point in the "Al-Quds Intifada."

In a press release posted on Hamas's website and Twitter account, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated: "Hamas praises the Al-Quds [Jerusalem] operation and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli crimes, specifically public executions, and to the fact that [Israel] is defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque."[3]


Hamas's Twitter account tweeted Abu Zuhri's statement praising the attack (Twitter.com/hamasinfo, April 18, 2016)

On his Facebook page, Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk praised the attack, linking it with Palestinian Prisoners Day, on April 17, and the recent anniversary of the 2004 assassination of Hamas official 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi and the 1998 assassination of Fatah official Khalil Al-Wazir. He wrote: "This is how our people marks the anniversary of its martyrs, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Lion of Palestine, Dr. ['Abd Al-'Aziz] Al-Rantisi and of Abu Jihad, Khalil Al-Wazir. This is the most beautiful gift to our hero prisoners, and constitutes an unbreakable promise to release you, oh heroes who stand fast and disregard their pain. This is a message to the oppressors, the occupiers, and the settlers: You will not be safe until our people are safe. The oppression will not last forever. Truth will triumph, and the day of victory is at hand."[4]


Abu Marzouk's Facebook post (Facebook.com/Dr.Mousa.Abumarzook, April 18, 2016)

Hamas official Mushir Al-Masri said: "Starting today, Jerusalem will not be safe for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his soldiers. The Al-Quds intifada will humiliate the leaders of the occupation as long as their crimes on this land persist... [The occupation] that bragged about exposing a small resistance tunnel to raise the morale of its soldiers was today humiliated by the heroic action on the bus."[5]

PIJ also praised the attack, in a statement that read: "The Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine praises the Jerusalem operation, and affirms that this is a powerful message that underlines the ongoing intifada and the importance of resistance as an option that is deeply rooted in the Palestinian logic and conscience."[6]

The attack was also supported by officials in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). PFLP Central Committee Member Hani Al-Thawabteh called the operation in "occupied Jerusalem" a "stabbing" that "breached" Israeli security, especially in light of Israel's preparation and security measures. He said: "We praise this heroic action. We support any operation that takes a heavy toll on the occupation. The occupation should realize that it is losing..." [7]

DFLP Central Committee Member Muhammad Khalaf said: "The operation is ringing slap in the face of the occupation and a natural response to the crimes and public executions against our people." He added that such "quality operations" will continue as long as the "occupation's crimes" continue, because the resistance has grown impatient and will be ready to respond "at any time and place that it can, and will carry out painful suicide operations against the occupation."[8]

It was also reported that the Popular Resistance Committees, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Al-Ahrar movement also praised the attack.[9]

Widespread Support On Social Media For Attacks

Social media accounts featured numerous images and cartoons expressing joy at the attack, with hashtags such as "No. 12 Bus" and "The Roof of the Bus Goes Flying" - the title of an intifada song recently published by Hamas.[10] It should be mentioned that following the attack, Hamas released a new version of the song.[11]

Following are several examples:

 
Terrified Jews atop the roof of the "Jerusalem-Hell" bus line, launched skyward by a bomb (Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016)


Cartoon by well-known Gaza cartoonist Omayya Joha shows a Palestinian woman distributing sweets following the attack, saying: "Blessed be the hands of the one who blew up the bus this afternoon... and what you have seen is only a drop in the ocean (ululating)" (Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016)


Palestinian watching news of attack on TV calls to the mother of the martyr to "ululate" joyfully because "the roof of the bus went flying." (Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016)

 
Image of the burned bus with the caption "This [Attack] Quenches The Thirst" (Facebook.com/642225705925329, April 18, 2016)

Other graphics depicted the bombing as a change in the nature of the intifada:


"The knife is no longer enough. Now the age of explosions will heal us" (Facebook.com/Tul.islamic, April 18, 2016)

 
Image of the burned bus with the caption "Message No. 1" (Facebook.com/FalestinNews, April 18, 2016)

Several images linked the attack to the work of "The Engineer," Yahya Ayyash, Hamas's chief bomb maker who masterminded a series of deadly bus bombings in Israel between 1992 and 1995, and who was assassinated by Israel in 1996.


"Ayyash was here!" (Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016)


"The days of Ayyash have returned" (Facebook.com/WestBank.Camps, April 18, 2016)

Others tied the attack to the anniversary of the assassination of Hamas official 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi.


"On the anniversary of Al-Rantisi's death, the roof of the bus went flying" (Facebook.com/262494854095870, April 18, 2016)

 

Endnotes:

[1] Facebook.com/Official.Fateh.1965, April 18, 2016.

[2] Maannews.net, April 19, 2016.

[3] Hamas.ps/ar, April 18, 2016.

[4] Facebook.com/Dr.Mousa.Abumarzook, April 18, 2016.

[5] Al-Resalah (Gaza), April 18, 2016.

[6] Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016.

[7] Al-Resalah (Gaza), April 18, 2016.

[8] Al-Resalah (Gaza), April 18, 2016.

[9] Facebook.com/alresalahNet, April 18, 2016; Al-Resalah (Gaza), April 18, 2016.

[11] Facebook.com/palinfo, April 19, 2016.