Following Monday's bombing outside a Netanya shopping mall, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, giving the reason for his condemnation as: "[It] causes great damage to our commitment to the peace process [sic]." [official PA web site, December 5,2005]
"On the surface, that Abbas condemned the terrorist attack might be welcomed by Western observers," an evaluation of the coverage by Palestinian Media Watch warned. "But it must be noted that PA political leaders have always been careful to specify that they're not condemning terrorism because it's wrong, but rather because it hurts Palestinian interests. In this case, Abbas's denunciation of the attack refers to the damage it caused the PA, not to the terror victims and their families."
The PMW report, authored by Director Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, cites several cases of institutionalized glorification of suicide bombers put forth by the PA.
One example is a huge billboard that was erected by the PA next to the Rafiach crossing between Gaza and Egypt last week. The billboard venerated Fatah terrorist Al-Moayed Bihokmillah Al-Agha, who carried out an attack at that very crossing, killing five Israelis in December 2004.
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The billboard, displayed on a Fatah military wing's web site.
The huge billboard was even shown on CNN's coverage of the crossing's opening last month. As commentators gushed over what the crossing, which is free of any Israeli supervision and means for the future of Palestinian statehood, the camera showed footage of the giant sign erected over the site, declaring the crossing's name to be in honor of the Shahid (martyr) Al-Agha, and referring to his attack with the dramatic name, "Volcanoes of Rage."
Sign reads: "Fatah Falcons - The Crossing of the Falcon Shahid Al-Moayed Bihokmillah Al-Agha, Executor of Operation Volcanoes of Rage - Rafiach Crossing 12/12/2004
Al-Agha is also featured in a clip glorifying violence and terror, which can be viewed by clicking here.
"That the PA allowed such a sign to be erected at the site is a powerful message to Palestinians, emphasizing once again that terrorists are heroes," Marcus said.
Other examples of the PA's continued glorification of suicide bombers include the naming of summer camps for suicide terrorists, a soccer tournament named for the suicide bomber who murdered 31 at the Passover massacre in Netanya's Park Hotel, a girls' school near Hevron named by the PA Ministry of Education for a woman terrorist who murdered 37 and a poetry collection produced by the PA Ministry of Culture named in honor of the suicide bomber who killed 21 at a restaurant in Haifa.
"As long as the PA features exciting, terror-promoting videos on its websites, and names streets, schools, summer camps and tournaments after terrorists, its isolated condemnations of terror attacks - worded to placate Western leaders - will be long forgotten by Palestinians, while the infrastructures of hate and terror will last and reverberate," Marcus and Crook conclude. "This leaves lasting impressions on PA youth and creates a new generation of PA terrorists waiting for another target."