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memri
March 17, 2010 No.
2862

Veneration for Dalal Al-Mughrabi on Palestinian Authority TV, in PA Dailies, and on Israeli Arab Websites

Popular Ceremony Commemorating Dalal Al-Mughrabi, Attended By Fatah Members

On March 11, 2010, a ceremony commemorating Dalal Al-Mughrabi, second-in-command of the March 11, 1978 terrorist attack on a bus on Israel's Coastal Road, was held at a square near the National Guidance headquarters in the city of Al-Bireh.

Three months earlier, the Ramallah governor had announced that the ceremony would be an official Palestinian Authority event; the announcement came during a PA political and national guidance ceremony sponsored by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.[1]

Shortly before the Al-Mughrabi ceremony was to be held, however, the PA announced that it was being postponed for "technical reasons." Al-Bireh Municipality representatives, when asked why, claimed that it was because Israel had sent a warning to the PA, calling upon it to refrain from holding the ceremony. The ceremony ultimately took place, but on an informal, "popular" basis, with senior Fatah officials – who came ostensibly as representatives of the people – in attendance.

At the appointed time, these officials, together with dozens of young people carrying Al-Mughrabi's photograph, converged on the square. Ramallah Fatah member Mustapha Abu Rabi' said that the ceremony was "the popular inauguration of the place named for Dalal Al-Mughrabi, and popular activity needs permission from no one."

Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Al-Tirawi said: "We will not give in to threats. We are here today to mark our history and our struggle, by naming this square after Al-Mughrabi."[2]

On the day of the ceremony, Fatah issued an announcement expressing its pride in Al-Mughrabi as a symbol of the Palestinian struggle, and stating that the PA, Fatah, and the Palestinian people had the right to mark the day of her martyrdom in a manner befitting a heroine and to perpetuate her name.[3]

Even though the PA had announced the "postponement" of the ceremony, on March 11 PA TV broadcast a program on the 32nd anniversary of the attack commemorating Dalal Al-Mughrabi and interviewing her sister, who urged people to gather at the square. The program also presented the legacy of Dalal Al-Mughrabi, urging her "weapon-bearing brothers" to "aim [their] guns – all [their] guns – at the Zionist enemy."

In the days following the ceremony, the PA press attacked Israel's demand that the ceremony be cancelled, and praised the commemoration.

Israeli Arab websites harshly criticized both Israel and the PA's handling of the affair, and stressed that Al-Mughrabi was a heroic Palestinian symbol.

Al-Mughrabi's Sister Calls On PA TV to Attend the Ceremony

On the day of the ceremony, PA TV broadcast a show commemorating Dalal Al-Mughrabi and hosting her sister Rashida (to view this clip on MEMRI TV, go to http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2417). Rashida said: "This is a day of pride and glory for our Palestinian people, and a painful day for the Zionists, who consider it a bloody day…

"Dalal is a source of pride for Palestinian women. We have the right to commemorate her. The Israelis are demanding that we refrain from commemorating Dalal. There are many high-school students and members of the Fatah youth movement who insist upon commemorating Dalal today. They will gather today at 1 pm at the square to be named after Dalal. God willing, we will see you there, in order to show our pride in our fighting Palestinian women and in Dalal Maghrabi."

Al-Mughrabi's Legacy: "I Will Continue Along This Path, No Matter How Much Effort, Sacrifice, and Blood It Costs Me"

The show also broadcast what was presented as the legacy of Dalal Al-Mughrabi, recited against a backdrop featuring a photo of Al-Mughrabi as a young woman, a handwritten letter, and pictures of Al-Mughrabi in fatigues and holding a gun: "I have undertaken a pledge to ignite the revolution, and to accomplish the goals of my people. I set out on the path by pledging to Allah, to the homeland, and the martyrs that I would be as steadfast as could be, on this path, which is full of thorns, obstacles, and death. I will continue along this path, no matter how much effort, sacrifice, and blood it costs me.

"I will not hesitate or back down – as God is my witness. My legacy to you all, my weapon-bearing brothers, is to freeze all secondary clashes and to escalate our primary clash with the Zionist enemy. Aim your guns – all your guns – at the Zionist enemy. The independence of Palestinian decision-making is guarded by the weapons of the revolutionaries.

"Have the courage to continue the struggle, all my brothers, wherever you may be. Continue along the path we follow. My comrades, when a fighter makes a sacrifice, he does not care whether he witnesses the moment of victory himself. I will witness it through the eyes of my comrades. Continue, protect this legacy, liberate our occupied homeland in its entirety, and do not compromise on a single inch of Arab land. Do not recognize the Zionist enemy, until all our national land is liberated…"

Al-Ayyam Columnist: Dalal is a Courageous Fighter

The PA daily Al-Ayyam published an article by Muhannad Abd Al-Hamid, who wrote: "During the preparations for the dedication of Dalal Al-Mughrabi Square, in an Al-Bireh neighborhood, the Israeli occupation authorities threatened to destroy the [planned monument] and to punish those responsible if they continued with the [commemoration] project… The PA quietly acquiesced to the threat and canceled the ceremony.

"The choice of Dalal Al-Mughrabi as a symbol and [the plan] to honor her is a courageous historic step, with meaningful [implications] for the Palestinians.

"Dalal Al-Mughrabi is a young freedom fighter, who set out with the premise that freedom is created by the free. The free young woman Dalal joined the revolution with a status equal to that of her fighting brothers and comrades. Furthermore, she was outstanding in her courageous and responsible leadership of the fedayii group. As a fighter, she was a match for the Israeli soldiers. Dalal is the symbol of our national and social liberation and a symbol of equality between the sexes…

"She and her group were not responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians. It is the Israeli arrogance – which tries to impose its superiority and which rejects any compromise – that is responsible for the deaths of civilians and for the martyrdom of all the members of the fedayii group led by Dalal Al-Mughrabi. An agreement could have been reached that would have prevented the bloodshed and stopped the group after it ran out of ammunition. But Israel rejected any solution but the solution that unleashed the arrogance of power.

"Israel does not recognize any form of the resistance to which the Palestinian people turns. It does not recognize the courageous fighter Dalal Al-Mughrabi, or [even] Thaer, the resistance fighter who refused to fire on the settler woman and her children at Wadi Al-Haramiya,[4] firing instead on soldiers alone. [Israel] does not recognize children who throw balloons with the Palestinian flag [printed on them] from the walls of Jerusalem, and will not tolerate a youth march in the streets that marks Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture.

"The only symbol [recognized] by the occupation state – which opposes all other symbols – is a dead Palestinian, a corrupt Palestinian, or a Palestinian who has surrendered... Ultimately, the adoption of symbols and their commemoration does not require the permission of the occupiers."[5]

Another Al-Ayyam Columnist: Were Dalal to Return to Life, She Would Warn Us Not to Forget

Also in the paper, Rajaa Rantisi wrote, in a column titled "Where is the Dalal Al-Mughrabi Within Us?": "Were Dalal Al-Mughrabi to return to life now, she would be surprised by the cold fire in our hearth and the utter depth of our tragedy. Were she to return to life, she would be shocked that her face had disappeared from the mirrors and perfumes of young women.

"Were she to return to life, she certainly would not be pleased [to find] that we had bid farewell to her so soon, even before we had gathered the clumps of soil from between her fingers. Were she to return to life, she would shout to our faces – especially to our faces, the faces of the Palestinian women – What's the matter with you?! Most of you have become lifeless mannequins. Where are you? I have become a curse to threaten the false purity to which you cling!

"Were Dalal to return to life, she would tell us that her hangman [i.e. Israel] still fearfully seeks her; despite its efforts to expunge her from our books and from our memory, it doubts the efficacy of these efforts. She would tell us that if we submit to her hangman's demands and come to terms with her death, we will never again be able to raise a hand against anyone who wants to swallow us up, and we will never again have, like other people, a beautiful [national heroine] to sing of."[6]

PA Daily Columnist: Can the Palestinian People and Its Leadership Possibly Renounce Its Fighting Heroes?

In the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida PA daily, columnist 'Adel Abd Al-Rahman wrote: "Does Israel, which perpetrates injustice and plunders the Arab and Palestinian lands, have the right to name squares and streets in the Palestinian territories after its war criminal and murderous leaders – whereas the Palestinian people cannot name any part of what remains from the Palestinian lands after its own martyrs, leaders, heroes, intellectuals, and artists… Can the Palestinian people and its legitimate leadership possibly renounce the leaders of our contemporary revolution and its fighting heroes, who sacrificed the most precious thing of all in order to attain national goals?"[7]

Article on Israeli Arab Website: Dalal Is the Symbol of Our Might

In another article, posted on the Arab Israeli website www.arabs48.com and published in the Palestinian Al-Quds daily, PFLP activist Rasam 'Abidat wrote: "...If all our [Palestinian] people were asked about their position vis-à-vis the leader and martyr Dalal Al-Mughrabi, and vis-à-vis Israel's blatant interference [with the dedication ceremony] and its threats to destroy any monument honoring her in Ramallah, they would say unanimously that there is none like [Dalal], that she is the symbol of our might, our resistance, and our revolution, and that she is the expression of our people's rejection of the occupation. She would never have drawn her weapon and specialized in fighting had she not been driven out – [like] millions of [other] Palestinian refugees – from the land of her birth, to which she was forbidden to return.

"I am fully convinced that our Palestinian people, of all political affiliations – even those who belong to the [Palestinian] Authority – would say: May this authority go to hell if it [dares] to renounce our martyrs and prisoners, or relinquish our values and honor.

"These fighters are the shapers of our history and our revolution; they are the symbol of our struggle – and we follow in their footsteps."[8]

Editor of Newspaper of the Islamic Movement in Israel: The "Dayton" Authority Has Surrendered

Hamed Aghbaria, editor of the newspaper of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sawt Al-Haqq Wal-Huriyya, wrote on the Arab Israeli website www.pls48.net: "...A spoiled child does not think too much about how to use satanic means to make those around him cater to his whims. All he needs to do is demand what he wants, showing that he is upset by bursting into tears, wailing, and pounding his fists, saying that they are taking things away from him, that no one loves him, and that they are angering and upsetting him. [At that point], whoever spoils him will hasten to quiet him, complying with all his demented caprices. This is Netanyahu's situation; he is ordering the Dayton Authority in Ramallah [a derogatory term for. the PA] to cancel the Al-Mughrabi Square dedication ceremony.

"We are not surprised – we do not raise an eyebrow at the Dayton Authority's speedy compliance with this demand. Since Oslo – and perhaps even before – there has been no reason to wonder... [But] these names [such as Al-Mughrabi's] are eternal, because the Palestinian people and its cause are eternal, regardless of whether there are squares [named after them] or not."[9]

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), December 11, 2009.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), March 12, 2010.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA) and Al-Safir (Lebanon), March 11, 2010.

[4] The reference is to Thaer Hammad, who carried out an attack on an Israeli military checkpoint at Wadi Al-Haramiya on February 3, 2002, in which 10 Israeli soldiers were killed.

[5] Al-Ayyam (PA), March 16, 2010.

[6] Al-Ayyam (PA), March 16, 2010.

[7] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), January 14, 2010.

[8] www.arab48.com, March 14, 2010; Al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 16, 2010.

[9] www.pls48.net, March 12, 2010.