Daily Israel Report

Clinton on Arab Incitement: Ignorance or a Lie?

Abbas praised mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi and said a city square should be named after her, but Clinton blamed Hamas for lauding the terrorist.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/24/2010, 1:36 PM / Last Update: 3/24/2010, 1:31 PM

Flash 90

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this week incorrectly blamed Hamas, instead of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, for inciting violence by praising terrorists.

Her brief comments on incitement referred to the newly-renamed Dalal Mughrabi Square in Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told Arab media in January, “Of course we want to name a square after” Mughrabi, who carried out the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 37 Israelis were murdered and dozens of others were wounded. She was killed during the attack.

Either intentionally or out of ignorance, Secretary Clinton stated, “When a Hamas-controlled municipality glorifies violence and renames a square after a terrorist who murdered innocent Israelis, it insults the families on both sides who have lost loved ones over the years in this conflict.”

In her speech, she also complimented Abbas, telling her audience, “We commend the government of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the reforms they've undertaken to strengthen law and order, and the progress that they've made in improving the quality of life in the West Bank. But we encourage them to redouble their efforts to put an end to incitement and violence.”

Contradicting Secretary Clinton’s blaming Hamas for the renaming of the Square in honor of Mughrabi, the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented the continuous veneration of the woman terrorist by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in the past two years.

It documented five references where Abbas personally glorified Mughrabi and 10 other examples where Fatah and other PA leaders praised her mass murder of Israelis.

Besides Abbas’ comment to the Arabic-language Al Hayat newspaper, he sponsored a celebration of her birthday in late December, as reported by the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority television station.

Abbas’ office also funded the Mughrabi computer center, where its dedication last May was attended by one of his advisors. He also sent his secretary general, Tayeb Abd al-Rahim, to speak in his name earlier this month, calling Mughrabi the “bridge over which we pass on the way to our freedom,” according to PMW.  

Abbas also sponsored high school graduation ceremonies in 2008 in honor of the terrorist, where his representative “reviewed the heroic life of the Shahida [martyr]."

Although Secretary Clinton blamed Hamas for praising Mughrabi, PMW cited other examples showing that Fatah, led by Abbas, and the Fatah-led PA lauded Mughrabi. Abbas’ Minister of Culture Siham Barghouti earlier this year defended naming the square after her, declaring that "honoring them [the Martyrs] this way is the least we can give them, and this is our right."

The square was dedicated two weeks ago, on the same day that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel. Abbas had canceled the ceremony because of the timing, but the Fatah youth movement decided to stage its own ceremony that night.

That same day, PA television praised the Coastal Road Massacre, calling the attack "a glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people."

The day after the square was named and when Vice President Biden already was in the air on his return to Washington, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi said at a second dedication of the square, "We shall not submit to any threats, and we are here today to celebrate our history and our battle in naming the square after Mughrabi."

Fatah also held a summer camp in 2008 named for Mughrabi "out of honor and admiration for the Shahida.”