PA Minister of Culture lauds terror glorification:
"It's the least we can do"
City square named after Dalal Mughrabi,
murderer of 37 Israelis
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The Palestinian Authority is defending its practice of honoring terrorists who have killed Israelis by naming public places and events after them.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu protested to the US this week over the continued hate and violence incitement by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's protest was prompted by Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of a birthday celebration and naming of a square in Ramallah, both in honor of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 37 Israelis when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus in 1978.
PA Minister of Culture, Siham Barghouti, defended this terrorist glorification:
"It is our right to preserve and maintain [the memory] of our fighters who sacrificed their lives for our sake and for the sake of the Palestinian cause. Honoring them in this way [by naming public places after them] is the least we can give them, and this is our right."
[Al-Ayyam, Jan. 11, 2010]
A member of El-Bireh City Council in Ramallah also defended the decision to name the square after Dalal Mughrabi:
The above comments were made in response to Israeli PM Netanyahu's protest, which was expressed at an Israeli cabinet meeting:
"Naming this square after Dalal Mughrabi is the commemoration of the symbolic figures of our struggle who have given their lives during the long struggle, and it is our right to commemorate them in our culture."
[Dalal Mughrabi was killed during her terrorist attack -- Ed.]
"It is not only missiles and rockets that endanger security and push peace further off. Words can also be dangerous. Whoever sponsors and supports naming a square in Ramallah in honor of a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis on the Coastal Road - encourages terror."
[Galei Zahal, (IDF radio), Jan. 10, 2010]
Following is an excerpt from the article in the PA daily Al-Ayyam reporting on the PA officials' responses:
Headline: "The occupation accuses the Palestinian leadership of incitement because of Dalal Mughrabi Square -
Minister of Culture: Honoring the Shahids (Martyrs) is the least we can do, and resistance to the occupation is a legitimate right"
"The occupation government has reiterated its familiar tune of accusing the [Palestinian] National Authority of incitement within Palestinian culture. The Israeli Prime Minister... claims that the Palestinian leadership is encouraging terror in its culture.
Netanyahu claims that the proof, which he presented to the members of his government, is the naming of a square in the region of Ramallah and El-Bireh after the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi. ...
Netanyahu is reported as saying: 'Anyone who supports naming [the square] after Dalal Mughrabi, who was responsible for the murder of dozens of Israelis, is encouraging terror and pushing peace further off...'
Netanyahu was referring to the operation of self-sacrifice led by Mughrabi in 1978, the "Coast Operation" within Israel, which led to the deaths of 36 Israelis. Netanyahu accused the [Palestinian] National Authority of incitement in schools and in cultural activities in general.
Minister of Culture Siham Barghouti said, in response to the Israeli claims, that 'It is our right to preserve and maintain [the memory] of our fighters who sacrificed their lives for our sake and for the sake of the Palestinian cause.'
She added: 'Honoring them in this way [by naming public places after them] is the least we can give them, and this is our right, especially since we believe that resistance, in the shadow of the ongoing occupation, is a legitimate right, and we are proud and we pride ourselves on our heritage of struggle, which has been realized by our Shahids (Martyrs) and fighters throughout history.'
Salim Salama, a member of the El-Bireh City Council, said that the municipality plans to inaugurate the square officially after the renovations... Salama said: 'Let Netanyahu say what he wants; naming this square after Dalal Mughrabi is the commemoration of the symbolic figures of our struggle who have given their lives during the long struggle, and it is our right to commemorate them in our culture.'
He added: 'Naming the square after Mughrabi is a modest act aimed at inscribing the names of those who took part in the Palestinian struggle against the occupation.'"
[Al-Ayyam, Jan. 11, 2010]