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PMW’s reports on naming of square after terrorist lead to PA’s cancelling event
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PMW exposure of naming of square after terrorist
leads to cancellation of event by PA

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Two months after Palestinian Media Watch first reported that a square in a Palestinian city was to be named for the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian Authority announced the cancellation of the inauguration ceremony. After the initial story, PMW published five follow-up bulletins, including one earlier this week reporting that the day chosen by the PA for the naming ceremony was to be today, March 11, the anniversary of the terror attack that killed 37. Israeli news reported that PM Netanyahu asked George Mitchell and then Vice President Biden to put pressure on the PA to cancel the event. Late yesterday the Palestinian Authority cancelled today's event.

Below is the timeline of the Dalal Mughrabi Square story, showing how it grew over the last two months through PMW's reporting, with links to the PMW reports.

The following is today's story about the cancellation, which includes statements by PMW director Itamar Marcus about the danger of incitement, especially the turning of terrorists like Mughrabi into role models for children.

Jerusalem Post by Herb Keinon:

"PA reportedly cancels ceremony to name public square after terrorist.
A security cabinet discussion on establishing a formal government mechanism to monitor Palestinian incitement was put off Wednesday for at least a week, a day before a ceremony scheduled in Ramallah to formally name a public square after Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre...
Israel has complained to the US administration about the naming ceremony, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly asked US Middle East envoy George Mitchell to convince Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel it. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on the 32nd anniversary of the attack, the worst terrorist incident in Israel's history, in which terrorists commandeered a bus and murdered 37 people, including 10 children. Mughrabi was killed during the attack. According to media reports quoting Palestinian sources Wednesday night, the PA has ordered the cancellation of the ceremony.
Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, which has been monitoring incitement in the PA for years, said that under the new initiative, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, currently the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry and formerly the head of Military Intelligence research and assessment division, will every three months issue an incitement report card.
'One of the biggest problems is the incitement, and how it creates heroes and role models for kids. The naming of the square is a clear message that whoever kills most Israelis is the greatest hero,' Marcus said.
Marcus said his organization has been in contact with Kuperwasser, the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, and discussed creating an index that would quantify the incitement.
'The message that is important to get across is that without peace education there cannot be peace, and if you teach and promote hatred there cannot be peace,' he said.
 
The following is the timeline of the Dalal Mughrabi Square story:

Dec. 31, 2009: PMW releases story of PA's intention to name square after Mughrabi
Click to view PMW's release of PA's naming of square after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.

Jan. 7, 2010: PM Netanyahu protests PA's honoring Mughrabi to the US
"Today, and a week ago, senior officials from the Prime Minister's office conveyed a protest to the US against Mahmoud Abbas... that the governor of Ramallah named a square in her [Mughrabi's] honor."
[Israeli News Channel 2]

Jan. 10: PM Netanyahu opens cabinet meeting with criticism of PA's honoring Mughrabi
"Whoever sponsors and supports naming a square in Ramallah in honor of a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis on the Coastal Road - encourages terror."
[Galei Zahal, (IDF radio), Jan. 10, 2010]

Jan. 11: PMW reports that PA Minister of Culture, Siham Barghouti, rejects Netanyahu's protest
"Honoring them this way [by naming places after Martyrs] is the least we can give them, and this is our right."
[Al-Ayyam, Jan. 11, 2010]

Jan. 17: PMW reports that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejects Netanyahu's protest
"I do not deny [the naming]. Of course we want to name a square after her [Mughrabi]... [We] carried out a military action; can I then later renounce all that we have done? No, I don't renounce it."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 17, 2010]

Feb. 3: Ashraf Ajrami, former PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, defends naming
"[PA] talk about Shahids (Martyrs) is considered, from their [Israel's] point of view, extremism and support for terror... Likewise, naming a square after Dalal Mughrabi is [according to Israel] reason for criticism and attack."
[Al-Ayyam, Feb. 3, 2010]

Feb. 25: Mahmoud Al-Aloul, General Commissioner for Recruitment and Organization, emphasizes importance of naming
"Mahmoud Al-Aloul, member of the Fatah Central Committee and General Commissioner for Recruitment and Organization, emphasized that it is important to continue commemorating the memory of the Shahids (Martyrs) and the Palestinian acts of heroism, and most importantly the anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dalal Mughrabi, heroine of the Coastal Road operation [terror attack], which falls on March 11th each year."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2010]

March 7: PMW reports that PA daily announces date for inauguration of square
"The El-Bireh Municipality has completed construction work at the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi Square ... and has commenced preparations for its inauguration this Thursday, the anniversary of Mughrabi's Martyrdom... City Council member Aida Abu-Ubeid said that the square is considered a symbol of the sacrifice of the Palestinian woman. She also noted that flowers and trees will be planted there, and that a picture of the Shahida Dalal Mughrabi will be placed at the center of the square."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 7, 2010]

March 9: Israeli Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein asks PM Netanyahu to involve US in canceling the inauguration, as reported in Haaretz:
"The square is to be dedicated tomorrow with senior PA officials in attendence, and Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein has asked Netanyahu to approach the American administration about stopping the event."
[Haaretz website, March 10, 2010

Yesterday, March 10, 2:00 p.m.: Abbas rejects PM Netanyahu's demand to cancel the event:
Initial radio reports indicate that Abbas has rejected PM Netanyahu's demand to cancel the event, conveyed via the US special envoy George Mitchell. Later reports now claim that Netanyahu's office is "waiting to see" if Abbas will cancel:
"Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel is waiting to see whether Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] will cancel the event. Senior political personnel have said that if the Palestinians want peace, they must educate towards peace."
[IBA website, March 10, 2010
http://www.iba.org.il/bet/?entity=625801&type=1]

Yesterday, March 10, 3:00 p.m.: Israel hopes the US will condemn PA naming of square after terrorist
"Israel is now demanding that the Vice President [Biden] at least condemn the [PA] incitement - a topic Israel has complained about before but now the PM has personally raised the issue with Vice President Biden. The Palestinians plan to name on Thursday a square in Ramallah for terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who participated in the hijacking of what is known as the "blood bus" in 1978 [in which 37 were killed]. The PA is calling her a Martyr and national hero. Israel protested to the US over this two months ago and the Americans turned to the Palestinians but the Palestinians are continuing with the inauguration [of the square to the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi]. Senior officials in Jerusalem tell me [Udi Segal] they expect the United States will raise this issue today with the Palestinian Authority, and Israel is hoping at the very least for a strong American condemnation of this incitement."
[Israel Channel 2 TV news]

Yesterday, March 10, 5:00 p.m.: Reuters reports PA will cancel the naming of square after terrorist

Reuters by Ali Sawafta
RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 10 (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority ordered on Wednesday the cancellation of a ceremony to honor a woman who led a 1978 hijacking of a civilian bus in Israel in which 35 people were killed.
The cancellation of Thursday's ceremony coincided with a visit to the occupied West Bank by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who met with Palestinian leaders as part of Washington's efforts to revive the moribund Middle East peace process.
Three Palestinian officials involved in organising the event to honour Dalal al-Mughrabi, killed in the Palestinian attack, said Israel told the Palestinian Authority to cancel the ceremony at which a traffic circle near Ramallah was to have been named after her and a memorial plaque unveiled.
 
Yesterday, March 10, 7:00 p.m.: Fatah announces it will not cancel ceremony. [Israeli radio]

Today, March 11: "PA reportedly cancels ceremony to name public square after terrorist." [Jerusalem Post by Herb Keinon]
"A security cabinet discussion on establishing a formal government mechanism to monitor Palestinian incitement was put off Wednesday for at least a week, a day before a ceremony scheduled in Ramallah to formally name a public square after Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre.
The security cabinet is likely to discuss the incitement monitoring mechanism in the near future.
Israel has complained to the US administration about the naming ceremony, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly asked US Middle East envoy George Mitchell to convince Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel it. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on the 32nd anniversary of the attack, the worst terrorist incident in Israel's history, in which terrorists commandeered a bus and murdered 37 people, including 10 children. Mughrabi was killed during the attack. According to media reports quoting Palestinian sources Wednesday night, the PA has ordered the cancellation of the ceremony.
Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, which has been monitoring incitement in the PA for years, said that under the new initiative, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, currently the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry and formerly the head of Military Intelligence research and assessment division, will every three months issue an incitement report card.
'One of the biggest problems is the incitement, and how it creates heroes and role models for kids. The naming of the square is a clear message that whoever kills most Israelis is the greatest hero,' Marcus said.
Marcus said his organization has been in contact with Kuperwasser, the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, and discussed creating an index that would quantify the incitement.
'The message that is important to get across is that without peace education there cannot be peace, and if you teach and promote hatred there cannot be peace,' he said."
 


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