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Abbas honors murderer
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Abbas honors murderer
Abbas and other senior PA officials
honor prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo
who murdered two students hiking near Jerusalem

Abbas' representative to murderer's mother:
"The best of the Palestinian people's sons are in prison"

PA TV host to murderer's mother:
"Your son is a fighter and a hero,
and all prisoners are heroes"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

In the past month, a number of senior Palestinian Authority officials including Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and PA TV, have all honored murderer Issa Abd Rabbo. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that glorifying terrorist murderers and paying prisoners high monthly salaries is official PA policy.

On October 22, 1984, Issa Abd Rabbo killed two Israeli university students, Ron Levi and Revital Seri, who were hiking south of Jerusalem. At gun point he tied them up, put bags over their heads and then shot and murdered both. He is serving two life sentences in an Israeli prison.

Last month, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas sent the Secretary-General of his office, Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, to the home of murderer Issa Abd Rabbo's family in the Deheisheh refugee camp to honor him:
"Representing President Mahmoud Abbas... [Abd Al-Rahim] spoke with Issa's mother and conveyed President Abbas' and the Palestinian leadership's greetings to her. He expressed appreciation and praised her for standing strong and for what she has sacrificed throughout 30 years of waiting, coping and patience."
 
He also "praised the Deheisheh refugee camp and its sons and daughters. He described it as a national revolutionary school which has produced generations and heroes who were and still are a source of pride."

Speaking directly to the murderer's mother, Abbas' representative said:
"The [prisoners'] chains will certainly be broken and removed by virtue of the heroes' and mothers' willpower," and that "the best of the Palestinian people's sons are in prison."
[Wafa (the official PA news agency), March 13, 2013]

PMW notes that according to Palestinian Authority law, murderer Abd Rabbo, having served 29 years in prison, should be receiving a monthly salary from the PA of 10,000 shekels (approx. $2,800), which is more than three times the average monthly salary the PA pays to its civil servants of 2,882 shekels (approx. $790) or approximately seven times the minimum wage in the PA of 1,450 shekels (approx. $400). (See sources below)

PMW has documented the PA's paying of salaries to prisoners, among them terrorists.

The PA Minister of Culture, Siham Barghouti, likewise honored the murderer by appearing with his mother on stage at a show that same week . The show's moderator said:
"Of course [this is] prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo's mother who is honored today by the Minister of Culture [Siham Barghouti], for her being with us."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 21, 2013]

Click to view

Earlier this month, as a show of support, Ramallah District Governor Laila Ghannam also visited Abd Rabbo's family's home, praising his mother's "patience and resolve."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 8, 2013]

Also last month, PA TV's For You program for prisoners chose to honor Abd Rabbo on a special program for Mother's Day. The PA TV host interviewed his mother in her home (see second half of video above):

PA TV host: "Our program today is dedicated to the honored prisoners' mothers who are here with us. First, the mother of the veteran prisoner from Bethlehem, my brother, prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo, I send him my blessings..."
Mother of terrorist Abd Rabbo: "All the prisoners of Palestine should be released, they are fighters, they are combatants. They should be released from Israel's prisons. All of them."
PA TV host: "Allah willing! My dear, your son is a fighter and a hero, and all prisoners are heroes."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 21, 2013]

The PA's honoring of murderer Abd Rabbo is not new. Last June (2012), Abd Rabbo was also honored by PA TV during its Prisoners of Freedom program. They visited his home and interviewed family members. "I am proud of my son... I wish I had another 10 [sons] like him. I have no regrets," his mother said.

Describing the events around the murder, the mother said:
"He wasn't with me for four days. He lived in a cave. When he had carried out the operation (i.e., the killing of the two Israelis), he came back home to me. He brought his weapon and came to me. When he came to me he told me, 'Mother, I shot two.' [I asked him:] 'Who were those two? Were they Arabs?' He said: 'No, mother. Jews.' ... I am proud of my son. I'm proud like a tree that is planted in the ground and grows tall. Praise Allah, I am proud. I wish I had another 10 [sons] like him. I have no regrets. Praise Allah the Almighty."
[PA TV (Fatah), June, 4, 2012]

Click to view

Last March (2012), PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake also honored the murderer by visiting his family's home together with "a delegation from the Ministry, the Independent Council for Human Rights, the National Union of Martyrs' and Released Prisoners' Families, and secretaries from the Fatah movement." On this occasion, Minister Karake "presented a symbolic gift to the mother of Issa Abd Rabbo."
[Ma'an News Agency, March 22, 2012]

In September the same year (2012), Minister Karake visited the family again. PA TV broadcast the visit and the praise said about the terrorists by his relatives:
Abd Rabbo's cousin: "Really, Issa [Abd Rabbo] is a respectable man and a hero too, praise Allah."
Another cousin: "Issa is the hero of the whole world. Issa made us proud ..."
Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake: "I salute brother Issa and ask Allah that he return to the Dheisheh refugee camp, to his sick mother, to his family and the residents of the camp, many of whom have come to this home today."
[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 20, 2012]

The following are longer translations of the items cited above:

"This evening [March 13, 2013], Secretary-General of the President's [Mahmoud Abbas'] Office and member of the Fatah Central Committee, Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, representing President Mahmoud Abbas ... visited the home of Bethlehem's most veteran prisoner, Issa Abd Rabbo (i.e., terrorist who killed two Israeli students). Abd Al-Rahim spoke with Issa's mother and conveyed President Abbas' and the Palestinian leadership's greetings to her. He expressed appreciation and praised her for standing strong and for what she has sacrificed throughout 30 years of waiting, coping and patience. Likewise, he praised the Deheisheh refugee camp and its sons and daughters. He described it as a national revolutionary school which has produced generations and heroes who were and still are a source of pride for Palestine... He emphasized that international legitimacy guarantees the right of return and that this is a collective and personal right on which the statute of limitations does not and will not apply. He turned to the prisoner's mother and said that the chains will certainly be broken and removed by virtue of the heroes' and mothers' willpower, and that the best of the Palestinian people's sons are in prison. He reminded her of what President Abbas has said on several occasions - that there will be no political solution with the occupation without the release of all the prisoners from the occupation's prisons... It is worth noting that prisoner Mahmoud Sarahne, whose mother passed away, has been incarcerated for the past 10 years and is sentenced to 17 life sentences... while prisoner Abd Rabbo is sentenced to two life sentences."
[Wafa (the official PA news agency), March 13, 2013]

PA Minister of Culture, Siham Barghouti, honored terrorist murderer Issa Abd Rabbo's mother. At the end of a cultural event by the Dalal Group for Popular Arts, broadcast on PA TV, the two went up on stage together and the moderator said the following:
"Of course [this is] prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo's mother who is honored today by the Minister of Culture [Siham Barghouti], for her being with us."

Song playing at show:
"We are part of you, we are your weapon, oh our homeland, Paradise."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 21, 2013]

Headline: "[Ramallah District Governor] Ghannam visits prisoners' homes and offers condolences on the Martyrdom death of Abu Hamdiyeh."
"Ramallah District Governor Laila Ghannam yesterday visited the families of Issa Abd Rabbo and Muhammad Abu Aker in Bethlehem, and expressed her interest in how they (the prisoners) are doing and the conditions [of their confinement]. She stressed that the prisoners' mothers pay a price of their own vitality and strength, while demonstrating patience and resolve that prove the determination of the Palestinian people to challenge [Israel], in spite of its (the Palestinian people's) difficult situation... The District Governor expressed condolences over the death of hero prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh. She said that his Martyrdom death serves as a death notice for all human rights organizations that sat passively while he suffered. She also noted that the cancer that attacked his body as a result of [Israel's] intentional medical negligence is evidence of a despicable crime against humanity that has been added to the long list of wounds inflicted by the occupation on anything Palestinian."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 8, 2013]

Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh was a Hamas member who recruited a terrorist to carry out an attack on a Jerusalem coffee shop in 2002. He was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and possession of weapons. He died of cancer while in prison in early April 2013.
 
On March 21, 2013, PA TV aired a special edition of its For You program for prisoners in honor of Mother's Day. The PA TV host interviewed the mother of terrorist murderer Issa Abd Rabbo in her home in the Deheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem.

PA TV host: "Our program today is dedicated to the honored prisoners' mothers who are here with us. First, the mother of the veteran prisoner from Bethlehem, my brother, prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo, I send him my blessings..."
Mother of terrorist murderer Abd Rabbo: "All the prisoners of Palestine should be released, they are fighters, they are combatants. They should be released from Israel's prisons. All of them."
PA TV host: "Allah willing! My dear, your son is a fighter and a hero, and all prisoners are heroes."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 21, 2013] 

In June 2012, PA TV's Prisoners of Freedom program honored murderer Issa Abd Rabbo:

Terrorist murderer Abd Rabbo's mother: "He was in an open area of Walaja. He wasn't with me for four days. He lived in a cave. When he had carried out the operation (i.e., the killing of the two Israelis), he came back home to me. He brought his weapon and came to me. When he came to me he told me, 'Mother, I shot two.' [I asked him:] 'Who were those two? Were they Arabs?' He said: 'No, mother. Jews.' ... Praise Allah the Almighty, his spirits are high. [While in jail] he has taught generations [of prisoners]. Generations have come out, and generations have come in. For 29 years he's been teaching generations, and people come and see him. Praise Allah, he has a great reputation. I am proud of my son. I'm proud like a tree that is planted in the ground and grows tall. Praise Allah, I am proud. I wish I had another 10 [sons] like him. I have no regrets. Praise Allah the Almighty."
[PA TV (Fatah), June, 4, 2012]

Headline: "Karake honors mothers of prisoners Hattab and Abd Rabbo"
"Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake visited the Tulkarem home of Palestinian prisoner Kifah Hattab, who has been on a hunger strike for 22 days, and the Deheisheh refugee camp home of prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo, the Bethlehem District's most veteran prisoner, having been in the occupation's prisons for 27 years.
Karake was accompanied by a delegation from the Ministry, the Independent Council for Human Rights, the National Union of Martyrs' and Released Prisoners' Families, and secretaries from the Fatah movement. Karake delivered a symbolic gift to prisoner Kifah Hattab's mother on the occasion of Mother's Day.
Karake also presented a symbolic gift to the mother of Issa Abd Rabbo in the Deheisheh refugee camp... Karake saluted the Palestinian mother, who is considered a symbol of resolve, endurance, and adhering to [the idea of] freedom and the future... Kifah Hattab's mother said: 'All prisoners are my sons, and they are like Kifah. I am proud of them, their endurance, and their resolve...'"
[Ma'an News Agency, March 22, 2012]

Kifah Hattab was a commander of Tanzim, a terror branch of Fatah, and is serving two life sentences for the murder of Rabbi Aharon Obadian in 2001, and the murder of a Palestinian whom he accused of collaborating with Israel.
 
PA TV's prisoner program For You visits the home of terrorist Issa Abd Rabbo, who is sentenced to a life sentence for the murder of two Israeli students.

Terrorist Abd Rabbo's cousin: "Really, Issa [Abd Rabbo] is a respectable man and a hero too, praise Allah."
Another cousin: "Issa is the hero of the whole world. Issa made us proud ..."
Camera focuses on a certificate of appreciation with the inscription: "Said the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad]: 'Paradise is under the feet of the mothers.'"
In handwriting: "Wishing you health and happiness."
Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake: "I salute brother Issa and ask Allah that he return to the Dheisheh refugee camp, to his sick mother, to his family and the residents of the camp, many of whom have come to this home today."
PA TV host: "To our brother, the prisoner Issa Abd Rabbo, thousands of blessings and greetings, and Allah willing, you will live a life in freedom soon."
[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 20, 2012]

The following are the sources from official PA media, documenting the average salaries for civil servants and the minimum wage:
 
“An official document, a copy of which reached Life and the Market (supplement to the official PA daily), reveals that the cost of salaries [in the PA budget] is much higher than people think. According to the document, the sum of monthly salaries for May 2011 totaled 727,287,824 shekels, paid from the treasury of the [Palestinian] National Authority…
The document shows that the largest portion of the salaries’ expense - more than 40% - was paid to civil servants. A total of 293,435,045 shekels was paid to 101,802 civil servants, about three quarters of them in the West Bank. The average salary for a civil servant in the Palestinian Authority is 2,882 shekels…

The military personnel of the Palestinian Authority occupy second place – 24% - in the cost of salaries, with a total of 172,873,226 shekels. Surprisingly, the Gaza Strip represents more than 55% of the total cost of salaries of military personnel. The average salary for members of the PA military personnel is 2704 shekels …

The PA transfers about 7% of the cost of salaries overseas, in the form of salaries to personnel at consulates and the Palestine National Fund, foreign fronts, and PLO forces and institutions, in the amount of 51,872,446 shekels.
As for the prisoners (i.e., in Israeli prisons), they receive approximately 2.5% of the cost of salaries [for May], in the form of salaries and [additional] payments, totaling 17,678,247 shekels.
Taking care of families of Shahids (Martyrs), inside and outside [the PA], totals about 3.5% of the total cost of salaries [for May], in the amount of 26,458,137 shekels.
The West Bank received the majority of the payments and salaries to prisoners, while the Gaza Strip receives a greater portion of the budget for assistance to Shahids’ families. The average prisoner salary is 3,129 shekels… Salaries for members of the inactive Parliament (Legislative Council) [which has not been meeting since the Fatah–Hamas conflict] totaled approximately 0.5% of the cost of salaries – 3,272,316 shekels.”
[Life and the Market, supplement to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011]
 
“The [PA] government has approved the recommendations of the Wages Committee to set the minimum wage in Palestine at 1,450 shekels a month, [and] the minimum wage for a day’s work as well as for people working one day not on a regular basis and the temporarily employed – at 65 shekels, and the minimum wage for one hour’s work at 8.5 shekels…”
[WAFA (the official PA news agency), Oct. 9, 2012]
 
 


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