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“Palestine is more precious than my ‎sons,” says women’s rights activist
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Women's rights activist: 

"Palestine is more precious than my sons"

 

"Palestine is one, the sons are many.

I can give birth to 10 or 12, and I know people

with 15, 16, and more, but Palestine is one"

 

PA TV: "Palestine [is] a mother...  

[who] says to the baby in her uterus:

'You were created only to be free or to die as a Martyr'"

 

Father of "martyred" son:

"I didn't want it to happen.

Every father, every person, wants to protect his son"

 

By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

 


 

The Palestinian Authority has successfully cemented Martyrdom-death for Allah - Shahada - as an ideal that Palestinians should strive for. In addition, it has convinced Palestinians that dying for "Palestine" gives them the high status of Martyr for Allah.

 

On one program about a Palestinian youth who was "martyred," the PA TV narrator stated that "Palestine" is a mother who "when she conceives, says to the baby in her uterus: 'You were created only to be free or to die as a Martyr.'" [Official PA TV, June 8, 2015] (See video below)

 

A host on another PA TV program questioned Palestinian mothers' expressions of joy about their sons' "Martyrdom," saying that the world sees the Palestinian woman as someone "devoid of maternal feelings who makes sounds of joy when her son dies as a Martyr." Palestinian women's rights activist Amal Al-A'araj answered that mothers are willing to sacrifice a son because "Palestine is one, the sons are many. I can give birth to 10 or 12, and I know people with 15, 16, and more, but Palestine is one."  

 

When challenged on this, she added that a Palestinian mother is joyous at the Martyrdom-death of her son because "she witnessed the result of the values she instilled in her son," but that she is also sad and not devoid of emotion because she "cries first, and then makes sounds of joy":

 

Women's rights activist Amal Al-A'araj: "The Palestinian woman who makes sounds of joy for her Martyr son, was raised by a Palestinian woman greater than her in her love for the homeland and [the belief] that 'Palestine is more precious than my sons.' Palestine is one, the sons are many. I can give birth to 10 or 12, and I know people with 15, 16, and more, but Palestine is one. The land of Palestine is one..."
PA TV host: "So this does not mean that her sons are not precious to her, and that she is a mother devoid of emotion, right?"
Women's rights activist: "Of course [not]."
PA TV host: "There is a great message."
Women's rights activist: "We can all see that she cries first, and then makes sounds of joy. She has feelings. She makes sounds of joy because she accompanied her Martyr son who upheld the cause and defended his land. She witnessed the result of the values she instilled in her son. Nevertheless she makes sounds of joy while crying."

[Official PA TV, May 16, 2015]

Click to view 

 

Recently, Palestinian Authority official Laila Ghannam who is the District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh emphasized that Palestinian mothers are held in high esteem for having "Martyr" sons.  Ghannam stated that "the mothers of Martyrs and prisoners are in general a model of pride for us, the Palestinians." [WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), June 8, 2014]

 

Whereas the ideal of Martyrdom-death has been repeated by many Palestinians, and many parents have expressed joy over their "martyred" children, as has been documented by Palestinian Media Watch, occasionally some parents will openly break with this ideal, expressing their opposition to their sons seeking Martyrdom.

 

Following the PA TV introduction above that presented "Palestine" as a mother who gives birth to "heroes" and "Martyrs," the PA TV program featured the parents of a young man who had actively pursued and achieved death as a "Martyr" by deliberately seeking life-threatening confrontations with the Israeli army. Both his parents expressed sorrow and regret over their son's infatuation with the Martyrdom-death ideal and rejected it:

 

Mother of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "He always said to me:, 'Mother, I want to die as a Martyr,' and we would argue... I told him: 'My Dear, you have grown, I want to marry you [off], Muhammad. We want to rejoice for you, Muhammad.' He told me: 'I don't want to marry. This is it, Mother, I want to die as a Martyr.' He is the one who wanted Martyrdom (Shahada)."

Father of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "I was a little strict with him on this topic... I didn't want it to happen. Every father, every person, wants to protect his son. As a father, when I bring up my son until the age of 19, of course I don't want to lose him in one moment."

[Official PA TV, June 8, 2015]

 

The following are longer excerpts of the PA TV programs featuring promotion of Martyrdom-death, as well as the parent's rejection of their son's seeking martyrdom:

 

PA TV host: "Let's talk about an issue that has been a point of discussion for many years, from the 1st and 2nd Intifada (i.e., Palestinian waves of violence against Israelis): The world's attitude towards the Palestinian woman, as a woman devoid of maternal feelings who makes sounds of joy when her son dies as a Martyr, or when she loses her husband, etc..."
Women's rights activist Amal Al-A'araj: "The Palestinian woman who makes sounds of joy for her Martyr son, was raised by a Palestinian woman greater than her in her love for the homeland and [the belief] that Palestine 'is more precious than my sons.' Palestine is one, the sons are many. I can give birth to 10 or 12, and I know people with 15, 16 and more, but Palestine is one. The land of Palestine is one..."
PA TV host: "So this does not mean that her sons are not precious to her, and that she is a mother devoid of emotion, right?"
Women's rights activist: "Of course [not]."
PA TV host: "There is a great message."
Women's rights activist: "We can all see that she cries first, and then makes sounds of joy. She has feelings. She makes sounds of joy because she accompanied her Martyr son who upheld the cause and defended his land. She witnessed the result of the values she instilled in her son. Nevertheless she makes sounds of joy while crying."

[Official PA TV, May 16, 2015]

 

PA TV narrator: "Palestine - a mother that gives birth only to heroes. When she conceives, she says to the baby in her uterus: 'You were created only to be free or to die as a Martyr'..."

Mother of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "He always said to me:, 'Mother, I want to die as a Martyr,' and we would argue... I told him: 'My Dear, you have grown, I want to marry you [off], Muhammad. We want to rejoice for you, Muhammad.' He told me: 'I don't want to marry. This is it, Mother, I want to die as a Martyr.' He is the one who wanted Martyrdom (Shahada)."

Father of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "I was a little strict with him on this topic... I didn't want it to happen. Every father, every person, wants to protect his son. As a father, when I bring up my son until the age of 19, of course I don't want to lose him in one moment..."

Friend of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "Muhammad loved Martyrdom very much and loved the homeland for which we sacrifice our lives. He always went to throw stones at the [Israeli] army."

Mother of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "He went to the Qalandiyacheckpoint, where he did not find any problems (i.e., confrontations with the Israeli army). He went to the Ofer [Prison] and saw there weren't any problems [either]. He took his friends and they went to that settlement, the El-Bireh settlement (Psagot settlement near El-Bireh, where there were confrontations, and he was killed -Ed.)"

Father of "Martyr" Muhammad Al-Qatari: "There were confrontations next to the settlement, and he was in the area. The children threw stones at the army. The same day he was apparently at the front, according to the boys who saw him... one bullet hit him, according to what the boys who were there told us. The bullet that hit him was fatal, straight to the heart."

[Official PA TV, June 8, 2015]

 

Headline: "Ghannam: 'The mothers of Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners are a model of pride for us.'"

"District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam stated... during a reception she held in her office today, Monday [June 8, 2015], for the Egyptian journalist Ahmad Qandil... that the Palestinian woman has been a main pillar in the national struggle throughout history, and clarified that she [the Palestinian woman] was ahead of her counterparts in the Arab world. Likewise, she noted that the mothers of Martyrs and prisoners are in general a model of pride for us, the Palestinians, and mentioned the most veteran female prisoner, Lina Al-Jarbouni, Martyr Dalal Mughrabi and a number of Palestinian female figures of the struggle who proved that they are not easy prey for the occupation and its oppressive measures."

[WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), June 8, 2015]