PA Official Daily:2 Suicide Terrorists are Shahids (Martyrs)

Posted in Israel / Palestine | 01-Sep-04 | Author: Itamar Marcus and Barbara Croo| Source: Palestinian Media Watch

Rescue workers rush to the burning bus shortly after bomb blasts ripped through two buses in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba August 31, 2004 killing at least 16 people in an attack carried out by Palestinian suicide bombers.
Introduction
While Yassir Arafat and the PA’s official statements to the press condemned yesterday’s suicide attack, the PA Arabic media was telling a different story.

The official PA daily granted Shahid (Martyr) status to the two suicide terrorists who murdered 16 Israelis yesterday in Beer Sheba. Reaching Shahada (Martyrdom) status is a supreme achievement in Islamic teaching, granting the Shahid the greatest rewards in the afterlife and a place of honor in Paradise near Mohammed’s Comrades and the Prophets. This defining of the murderers as Shahids was the opening sentence in today’s page one - headline story.

Striking as well was yesterday’s PA TV. The 3 Arabic language news reports, at 3:00, 7:00 and 9:00 PM – each between 20 minutes and half an hour - did not mention the terror attack, whereas the English language news, which is targeting foreign audiences and media, told of the attack and the PA condemnations.

Moreover, while the PA condemned the attack, the reason it gave was that it harmed PA “national interest” –not that it was morally wrong: “The leadership reiterated the Palestinian clear stands against any aggression on Palestinian and Israeli civilians alike, emphasizing that the Palestinian national interests require not to harm civilians in order not to give Israel the pretexts to continue its military aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy sites.”

This is consistent with PA policy not to condemn Palestinian suicide terror on moral grounds but only on grounds of “national interest”, and never to condemn the terrorists, who are all granted Shahid status. See for example the open letter by Sari Nusseibeh, Hannan Ashrawi and other PA figures calling for a halt in suicide terror against civilians in 2002:

“… We believe that these operations do not advance the fulfillment of our endeavor, for freedom and independence… Military actions are defined positively or negatively not by its own criteria [i.e. the success of the attack itself] but rather according to the achievement of political goals…”
[Al Quds, June 19, 2002].

This morning’s PA TV Arabic news finally reported the attack and the condemnations again explaining it was not in “national interest to harm civilians in order not to give Israel the pretexts to continue its military aggression against the Palestinian people…” as in the English news report. The PA daily cited the condemnation in an article on page 1 without citing any reason.

The following are two reports in the PA media:

PA daily Page one headline story [Al Hayat Al Jadida Sept.1, 2004]:
“16 people were killed in an attack on 2 Israeli buses yesterday in Beer Sheba, in addition to the executers of the double action, achieving Shahada (Holy Martyrdom)...”

PA TV English News Aug. 31, 2004:
“Israeli occupation forces have begun, as announced by the Israeli security cabinet, their assault on Hebron city. A large contingent of occupation forces backed by several tanks and military personal carriers have entered the city and detained the brothers of one of the Beer Sheba attackers and surrounded the family homes of both attackers, apparently in preparation for their demolition, a punitive policy adopted by Israel against families of Palestinians activists, detainees and militants alike, a policy also condemned by all international human rights organizations. Reports from the besieged Hebron also confirmed that the Israeli occupation forces have surrounded a third home belonging to the Jabari family.
President Arafat and the Palestinian leadership had condemned the attack carried out against Israeli civilians in Beer Sheba shortly after its happening, the attack, of course, which led to the death of 16 Israelis. The leadership reiterated the Palestinian clear stands against any aggression on Palestinian and Israeli civilians alike, emphasizing that the Palestinian national interests require not to harm civilians in order not to give Israel the pretexts to continue its military aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy sites. The leadership also stressed the call for the reciprocal and immediate cease-fire, as well as implementing all mutual commitments.”

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