Following are excerpts from a discussion on Palestinian terrorist Dalal Al-Maghrabi, who led a March 11, 1978 terror attack, hijacking an Israeli bus on the Haifa-Tel Aviv highway. In the attack, 35 people were murdered and 71 wounded. The show aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 5, 2008.
TV host Ghassan bin Jiddo: Twelve men, led by a woman called Dalal Al-Maghrabi, managed to establish the State of Palestine, after the whole world had denied them their right to do so. They turned a bus, going from Haifa to Tel Aviv, into a temporary capital of the State of Palestine. They raised the white, red, and black flag at the front of the bus, singing, shouting, and dancing like children on a school trip. When the Zionist forces surrounded them – with the help of helicopters – and wanted to storm the bus, they blew up the bus with themselves inside. For the first time in the history of revolutions, a passenger bus became a fully sovereign independent republic for four hours. It does not matter how long this Palestinian republic lasted. The only thing that matters is that this republic was established, and that its first president was Dalal Al-Maghrabi. Heroism transcends the gender divide. Arab men should realize that they do not have a monopoly over the glory of either life or death. A woman can love in a much more noble way than them, and she can die in a more magnificent way then them. When Dalal Al-Maghrabi decided to realize her true maternal nature, she went to Palestine, just like Maryam daughter of Omran. There, on the land that gave rise to wheat, olives, and prophets, she reclined against a palm tree, letting ripe dates fall on her. She ate and drank, and she was content. She dreamt that the birds of Upper Galilee fly above her as she goes into labor. 500 years later, the Palestinian will still visit their mother's grave, on which orange blossoms will be scattered. In a thousand years, Arab children will read the following story: On March 11, 1978, twelve men and one woman managed to establish a Palestinian republic in a bus. Their republic lasted four hours. It does not matter how long this republic survived. The only thing that matters is that it was established. This is what the great poet Nizar Qabbani said about the great fidaai, the martyr Dalal Al-Maghrabi. We have nothing to add.
Ghassan bin Jiddo: What made Dalal Al-Maghrabi ready to carry out this operation? Let me ask you outright: Did she realize that this was a suicide operation? Did she go there knowing that she would die, in what we call martyrdom-seeking and others call suicide, or did she go there hoping that she would return?
PLA Colonel Rashida Al-Maghrabi, sister of Dalal Al-Maghrabi: We belong to the Islamic nation, which does not accept the killing of oneself. The human soul is precious, and we do not accept killing ourselves. Suicide is unacceptable. This is a matter of principle. However, defending our rights to the point of martyrdom is something we should do.
Former Fatah commander Anis Naqqash: Let the Arabs know that they should prepare themselves for a new Middle East without Israel or Zionism. Let all the free people in the world know that the decisive battle with Zionism is approaching, and that its sign is this prisoner exchange.
Rashida Al-Maghrabi: I want to salute all the martyrs, and send a very special salutation – and whoever wants to be mad at me is free... I want to salute Husam Dweidat, the hero of the Jerusalem bulldozer operation. I salute his soul.