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PA unveils "Tree of Freedom" decorated with pictures of terrorists serving life sentences
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PA unveils "Tree of Freedom" decorated with pictures of terrorists serving life sentences

"It was agreed that it [the tree] will be placed
in a prominent location in the city of Bethlehem,
as befitting the prisoners."


District governor of Bethlehem also visited
families of 7 terrorists serving life sentences.
He gave them boxes of sweets with pictures of the prisoners


by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The District Governor of Bethlehem during one of the visits to the prisoners' families.
At two separate events in Bethlehem last month the Palestinian Authority continued its ongoing policy of honoring terrorists. First, with a delegation of PA officials, the district governor visited the homes of 7 prisoners serving life sentences in Israel for terror offences.

One of the prisoners murdered 9 Israelis and 3 Palestinians he suspected of collaborating with Israel, while another is serving life for stabbing two children. During the visits the governor gave the families "gift packages of sweets with pictures of the prisoners printed on them."

The official PA daily reported that:
"The district governor emphasized that the Palestinian people supports the sacrifice of the prisoners... they represent the purest and most noble cause in Palestinian society..."
 
Later in the week, at a ceremony honoring all 73 Palestinians from Bethlehem serving life sentences in Israeli prisons, the PA unveiled a "Tree of Freedom for Prisoners." Its branches are decorated with "photographs of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment." PA Minister of Prisoners Issa Karake and other PA officials participated in the ceremony.

The following are descriptions of the two events honoring terrorists in the official PA daily:

Headline: "Bethlehem: Visit [by delegation] headed by district governor to homes of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment"
"Bethlehem District Governor, Abd Al-Fatah Hamael, conducted a visit yesterday to the homes of several prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. He was accompanied by representatives of the organizations dealing with prisoners, members of the Committee of Families of Prisoners, and the head of the Preventive Security Service in Bethlehem, Wajih Rajoub. The delegation visited the homes of prisoners Khaled Al-Azraq, Mahmoud Abu Sorour, Nasser Abu Sorour, Issa Abd Rabbo, Riyad Al-Amour, Adnan Al-Afandi, and Rizq Salah. (See descriptions below.) These families were told that our people stand with the prisoners in the occupation's prisons, because the prisoners gave the most precious thing they possessed, their freedom, for the sake of our people's national cause. The district governor and his entourage gave [the families] gift packages of sweets, with pictures of the prisoners printed on them... The district governor emphasized that the Palestinian people supports the sacrifice of the prisoners and their struggle, and that they represent the purest and most noble cause in Palestinian society, and therefore everyone must stand with the prisoners and their families."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 18, 2011]

"The Bethlehem Committee of Families of Prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment, [the Bethlehem prisoners] numbering 73 in total, held a ceremony yesterday in their honor, as part of the events marking Prisoners' Day. [The ceremony] was attended by Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, and Bethlehem district governor, Abd Al-Fatah Hamael... Speakers at the ceremony of honor included Minister Karake, district governor Hamael, and district deputy governor, Abu Ulia. They underlined the importance of unifying the efforts on behalf of the prisoners, and at the same time stressing that that prisoners' cause - with its national, moral, and humanitarian dimensions - is one of the most important matters on the agenda of the Palestinian Authority, which emphasizes that there will be no peace and no solution without the release of all prisoners and detainees. At the same time, [the Palestinian Authority] is making great efforts to provide the best services to the prisoners and to their families, since they are the most important national group in Palestinian society... At the end of the ceremony, the Tree of Freedom for Prisoners was unveiled, with photographs of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment hanging from its branches, in a glass case. It was agreed that it will be placed in a prominent location in the city of Bethlehem, as befitting the prisoners and their sacrifice."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 20, 2011]

The following prisoners were mentioned in the first article:
Riyad Al-Amour - Serving 11 life sentences for murder of 9 Israelis and 3 Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel.
Adnan Al-Afandi - Attempted to kill two children by stabbing them, 1992
Nasser and Mahmoud Abu Sorour - Participated in the murder of a member of Israeli Intelligence, 1993.
Rizq Salah - Killed an Israeli soldier with a bomb in Bethlehem, 1993


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