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Fatah officials celebrated popular inauguration of terrorist square

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
Senior Fatah officials joined Fatah youth movement
in "popular inauguration" ceremony for terrorist square

Senior Fatah official: Inauguration was postponed
due to "technical reasons," not Israeli pressure

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Although world pressure forced the Palestinian Authority to cancel the official ceremonies to name a square after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi last week, several senior Fatah officials participated in a "popular inauguration" organized by Fatah's youth movement. According to the PA, the square is now named after Mughrabi and an official ceremony, including placing a monument, will take place at a later date. Thursday's "popular inauguration" was on the 32nd anniversary of "the Coastal Road Massacre" of 1978, in which 37 were murdered in a bus hijacking.

Among the senior Fatah officials participating in the popular inauguration were Tawfiq Tirawi, member of the Fatah Central Committee and former head of the PA Police in the West Bank, and Jamal Huweil, a Fatah member of Palestinian Parliament from Fatah.

 [Tawfiq Tirawi (center) at the popular inauguration of the Dalal Mughrabi square.

Poster Text: "On the anniversary of the Coastal Road Operation we renew our commitment and our oath that we uphold the charge and that we will not stray from the path of the ShahidsShahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi Square, Shabiba students' movement / Palestine] [Al-Quds, March 12, 2010]

Palestinian Media Watch first reported in January that the square was to be named for Mughrabi, After the initial story, PMW published five follow-up bulletins, including one reporting thatthe day chosen by the PAfor the naming ceremony was to be March 11, the anniversary of the terror attack. Israeli news reported that PM Netanyahu asked George Mitchell and then Vice President Biden to put pressure on the PA to cancel the event. On March 10, the PA cancelled the official ceremony.

Click here to see timeline of PMW reports and other news stories related to the cancellation of the official ceremony.

Trying to minimize the impact of world pressure on the PA, Adnan Al-Dumeiri, spokesman for the PA Security Apparatus, announced at the "popular inauguration" that the official inauguration was postponed "due to technical reasons and not because of Israel's request."

Fatah spokesman Dr. Fayez Abu Aytah called terrorist Dalal Mughrabi "a symbol in the history of our national struggle" and emphasized "the right of Fatah, of the Palestinian Authority, and of the Palestinian people to celebrate the anniversary of her [Mughrabi's] Martyrdom."

These statements were among a series of PA statements and events meant to emphasize and reinforce the message to the Palestinian population that Dalal Mughrabi, in spite of the international condemnation, is still to be glorified as a Palestinian hero and honored as a Martyr.

The following are statements made by Fatah officials and reports in the official PA papers supporting the "popular inauguration" of the terrorist square:

"The Palestinian Authority yesterday postponed its inauguration of a square named after the self-sacrificing Dalal Mughrabi in the town of El-Bireh, in the wake of an official Israeli protest, but this did not prevent tens of youth from inaugurating [the square] in a popular fashion...

Members of the El-Bireh council, who requested anonymity, said that the inauguration of the square had been postponed after the senior PA personnel received a message from the Israeli government...

Adnan Al-Dumeiri, a spokesman for the security apparatus, said that the inauguration of the junction had been postponed 'for technical reasons, not in the wake of a request by Israel.' He added, 'Neither Israel nor any other body is able to prevent us from taking pride in our history.'

Siham Barghouti, Minister of Culture, told Agence France Presse: 'It is our right to honor our Shahids (Martyrs) and to name our streets after the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi on the anniversary of her martyrdom, and this is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people.'

Tens of young men and women gathered at the junction at the hour when the official inauguration was to have taken place, bearing pictures of Dalal Mughrabi, in the presence of senior Fatah personnel.

Mustafa Abu Rabi'a, one of the senior Fatah personnel in Ramallah and El-Bireh, said: 'Today is the popular inauguration of the junction named after the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi...'

Jamal Huweil, a Fatah member of the Palestinian Parliament (Legislative Council), who was at the square, said that the fact that Israel prevented the naming of the junction after Dalal Mughrabi represented 'impertinent and unacceptable intervention'.

Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said: 'We shall not submit to any threats, and we are here today to celebrate our history and our battle in naming the square after Mughrabi.' A large boulder with Dalal Mughrabi's name on it was to have been placed at the junction, but it was not delivered yesterday. Giant photographs of Dalal Mughrabi were hung at the junction, located close to the Political Guidance headquarters."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 12, 2010]

Headline: "In response to what Netanyahu calls incitement - Fatah: We are proud of Dalal Mughrabi, and she is a great symbol in the history of our national struggle"
"Fatah spokesman, Dr. Fayez Abu Aytah, said that the Israeli Prime Minister's words concerning what he referred to as acts of incitement on the part of the Palestinian Authority, were said as part of the twisting of facts and the fabrications against the [Palestinian] Authority...

Abu Aytah responded to statements by the Israeli Minister of Information, who described the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi as a terrorist. Concerning the intention of the Palestinian Authority to inaugurate a square named after [Dalal Mughrabi] in Ramallah, he said: 'The Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi is a symbol in the history of our national struggle, and the Palestinian people is proud of her sacrifice. Likewise, Fatah is proud of Dalal's affiliation with it as a movement of national liberation which is continually innovating new methods of struggle.' He emphasized: 'It is the right of Fatah, of the Palestinian Authority, and of the Palestinian people to celebrate the anniversary of her Martyrdom in a manner that is worthy of her, as a heroine, a commander who fought with honor against an occupation army. It is our right to eternalize her name; we do not wait for anyone's approval to emphasize our loyalty to the Shahids (Martyrs).'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 11, 2010]

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