The City of Ottawa has no plans to remove an exhibit at City Hall that glorifies barbaric child-killing terrorists, despite the Israeli ambassador's protests, conveyed in a meeting with Mayor Jim Watson.
The deputy city manager said the city isn't embarrassed by the exhibit and has no plans to take it down, according to the Toronto Sun.
Toronto-based artist Rehab Nazzal created the exhibit, called "Invisible," which includes a piece called "Target," comprised of a series of projections against a white wall depicting what the artist calls "assassinated Palestinian figures." The exhibit booklet says the projections — which are flashed quickly on the wall making their written descriptions difficult to read — are of "lost artists, activists, writers and leaders."
Ambassador Rafael Barak said he isn't demanding the artwork be removed, but wants to let Canadians know that some of the alleged "artists and leaders" were also murderers. "I think the Canadian public should know that these people killed civilians," Barak said. "In a way, this exhibit is glorifying terrorism."
The pictures include the face of Salah Halef, or Abu Iyad, who founded the Black September terrorist group, which murdered 11 Israeli athletes and officials at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Also projected on the wall is the face of Dalal Mughrabi, who led a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel that murdered 38 people, including 13 children.
Another mass-murderer honored by the exhibit is Khalil Nazzal, who was the mastermind of the Ma'alot school massacre that took place exactly 40 years ago this month, in which 22 children and 3 adults were murdered. According to the Israeli Embassy, the creator of the exhibit, Rehab Nazzal, is a relative of Khalil Nazzal.
The Sun reported that Deputy City Manager Steve Kanellakos said the art displayed in the City Hall gallery is chosen by a panel of local artists, independent of elected officials and city staff. He said city politicians shouldn't be in the business of choosing what art is displayed in the city gallery.
"I think it's dangerous when (our personal) opinions can influence what is going to be shown in a public space," Kanellakos said. He said the city's legal team decided removing the display would violate the artist's charter rights "and we're not going to break the law."
Kanellakos also said the city is reviewing several of its internal policies, including the selection process for art displayed in the City Hall gallery.
The Israeli embassy released biographical sketches of some of the figures honored by the exhibit:
Abu Iyad: The chief of Palestinian Black September, who was responsible for the 1972 Munich Games Massacre, killing 11 Olympic Israeli team members and 1 German police officer, and several other international terror attacks and hijacking.
Dalal Mughrabi: A PLO terrorist, who died in her own hijacking operation of a civilian bus in what is now known as the 1978 Coastal Bus Attack, killing 38 people, including 13 children.
Abu Jihad: A cofounder of Fatah and the head of its military wing. He was responsible for establishing the paradigm of violence against any civilian targets as a means of struggle. He was the mastermind of the 1975 Tel Aviv Savoy Hotel attack (killing 8 civilians) and the 1978 Coastal Bus Attack (killing 38 civilians). In addition, he was implicated in attacks against Arab targets including the assassination of an Egyptian journalist, Yusuf Sibai, in 1978 in Cyprus, which was intended to send a message to Egypt over the signing of the peace treaty with Israel.
Naji Al Ali: A political cartoonist who was critical of both Israel and Arab regimes including the PLO. He was ultimately assassinated in 1987 in London by Palestinian operatives for unflattering cartoons about Yasser Arafat and his associates.
Shahida Abu Ghazaleh: A female operative who died in 1968 when a bomb she was preparing for an attack on Tel Aviv accidentally detonated.
Zuheir Mohsen: The leader of the Pro-Syrian government as-Sa'iqa faction of PLO and liaison with President Assad. His organization is said to have played a role in the Damour massacre in Lebanon's coastal town in 1976 that killed over 300 Lebanese Christians.
Khalid Nazzal: The Secretary of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and commander of its military branch who was responsible for the attacks on Ma'alot and Beit Shean in 1974 and Jerusalem in 1984.