Wednesday, April 22, 2015 was Israel’s Memorial Day. It’s the official day when all of Israel remembered Jews (and non-Jews) who have been killed by Israel’s Arab enemies.
Because as many as 1.5 million Jews plan to visit military cemeteries for private Memorial moments with loved ones, Memorial Day in Israel isn’t limited to one day. Were everyone to try to visit Israel's cemeteries on the same day, the crowds and the attendant traffic jams would be mind-boggling. To cope, Israelis know to spread out their visits over the month.
One prominent example of such a tactic comes from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His brother Yoni was killed in 1976 fighting for Israel. Instead of waiting for Memorial Day itself, Mr Netanyahu visited his brother’s grave earlier in the week.
I mention this elongated Memorial ‘season’ for Israel because I want you to understand how the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been treating Israel’s dead. While Israel is, essentially, spending part of this month remembering its dead, the PA has been having its own ‘remembrances’ of Israelis killed. But their remembrances aren’t to mourn. They’re ceremonies are to celebrate.
In what has to be some kind of over-the-top gesture of pure hate, the PA has spent much of this month honouring and glorifying the murderers who killed the Jews Israel now mourns.
In a stunning revelation, Palestine Media Watch has just released a survey of how Palestinian Authority and Fatah (which runs the PA) have used April 2015 to commemorate Jew-killers (Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “While Israel mourns terror, the PA celebrates terror”, April 21, 2015). Essentially, during April, both the PA and Fatah (both of which are headed by Mahmoud Abbas) honoured 14 terrorists who had murdered more than 160 people in acts of terror (ibid).
As Israelis mourned their dead, The PA presented these 14 terrorists to the ‘Palestinian’ public as heroes and role models (ibid). Abbas personally honored 4 of them. He cited for honor "the first Martyr," "the first [male] prisoner" and "the first female fighter prisoner". He awarded each of these 14 "decorations of military honor in admiration of their militant pioneering role." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2015]. He also honored arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, who the PA credits with orchestrating attacks in which 125 were murdered. Abbas was also the patron of a rally held in Abu Jihad's honor. Abbas "expressed his pride" in Abu Jihad "for his significant national role" [my emphasis] (ibid).
For Abbas, pioneering national heroes don’t solve problems, win Nobel Prizes or cure disease. His pioneers and national heroes kill Jews. His national heroes include:
-Seven terrorists who were honoured as a role models for university students on Fatah's official Facebook page.
- One who had a Jerusalem table tennis tournament named after him; he, too, was honoured as a role model for university students on Fatah's official Facebook page.
-one who was described on PA TV as ‘a fighter’. The TV host who spoke of him called his terror attack ‘the heroic operation’.
Abbas himself spoke of some of these murderers as having played a ‘significant national role’, or as having played a “remarkable role in writing the modern history of the struggle”. He praised one “in appreciation of his [the killer’s] revolutionary role in the history of our modern revolution”.
The relationship Mahmoud Abbas has with Israel is, clearly, a matter of ‘revolution’. Instead of speaking of living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel (this is the West’s mantra as it pressures Israel), Abbas speaks of ‘revolutionary struggle’, martyrdom and ‘pioneering’ effort in the killing of Jews.
For a supposed ‘peace partner’ of Israel to behave this way just as Israel mourns the Jews killed by these terrorists is an act of unspeakable disrespect. The State of Israel must absolutely refuse to deal with someone who so glorifies and uplifts those who murder Jews. Israel must declare that it will not sit at any table with anyone who would mock Jewish mourning with such offensive and immoral celebration. This behaviour is beyond belief. It’s beyond immorality. It’s beyond civilized leadership. It is, in fact, barbaric.
Israel must make it perfectly clear that if Abbas wants peace, he must demonstrate he wants peace. Israel must make it clear that if the world wants peace, the world must first convince Abbas to end such barbarism.