Hamas terrorists Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu Eisha, who abducted and murdered Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Gilad Sha'ar on June 12, were lauded with the highest status in Islam - martyrdom - by official Palestinian Authority (PA) press and leaders.
The official PA news agency WAFA praised the two as martyrs last Tuesday after the IDF succeeded in eliminating the two terrorists earlier in the day in Hevron, after the terrorists engaged Israeli forces in a gun battle.
"Israeli occupation forces executed citizens Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu Eisha today, Tuesday, in the early hours of the morning in a military operation in central Hevron... Security sources told WAFA that the occupation forces were still holding on to the bodies of the two martyrs," wrote WAFA, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Yusuf Ida'is also called the two terrorists "martyrs" while speaking with the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency last Tuesday.
PMW notes that the status as martyrs indicates the highest level of heavenly reward in Islam, a status that has made Arab mothers ecstatic on many documented occasions.
In addition to the unadulterated praise of the terrorists without noting their heinous crimes, numerous PA sources last Tuesday rushed to condemn Israel for taking out the two, amid insinuations that they were not actually guilty of the murders.
The claims come despite the fact that a senior Hamas source in Turkey last month finally took credit for the attack, and last Monday Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal admitted to Yahoo News that the murders were indeed carried out by Hamas terrorists.
Ida'is accused Israel of "assassinating" the terrorists, while official PA TV news presented the elimination of the terrorists as a "cold-blooded execution." The claim is ironic given that the PA's "unity partner" Hamas executed numerous Gaza residents at the end of the recent operation, reportedly using the opportunity to take out Fatah rivals.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction also got in on the condemnation action last Tuesday, with Fatah spokesperson Ahmad Assaf terming the killing a "cowardly execution," and "a serious violation of international law."
In Hevron, where the elimination of the terrorists took place, local PA Governor Kamel Hamid said "the occupation carried out a death sentence on two Hevron citizens, and this is a premeditated crime."
The PA also hinted that Israel killed the terrorist murderers to prevent them from somehow exposing they were not involved in the murder, despite the abundance of evidence.
Fatah Leadership Committee Member Yahya Rabah wrote in his column for the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida "it is possible that, were they alive, they would tell us and the world that the operation of kidnapping and murder of the three settlers is unrelated to the official Israeli version. Therefore, the execution of the young men, Marwan and Amar, amounted to the murder of the truth."
The PA daily also quoted PA Security Forces spokesperson Adnan al-Damiri as saying the details of the murder was "an Israeli version from beginning to end."