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Palestinian women honored for role in terror – on national Palestinian Women’s Day

Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
  • PA Minister of Women’s Affairs cites female mass murderer and “female Martyrs” as proof of gender equality in Palestinian society

  • PA Governor of Ramallah: “The Palestinian women… have always been the spearhead alongside the men in defending our national rights… They have been self-sacrificing fighters, fighters, expelled, wounded, prisoners, and Martyrs”

  • “The proof that the women are continuing to fulfill their pioneering role is the fact that 40 lauded women from among the Palestinian people are in the Zionist enemy’s prison” – column in official PA daily

Speaking on occasion of national Palestinian Women’s Day last week, PA Minister of Women’s Affairs Amal Hamad highlighted “female Martyrs” and a mass murderer as proof that there is gender equality in Palestinian society.

Going back to the Arab Riots of 1929, the female minister first highlighted the fact that “the women were partners in the battle of resolve and defiance, and nine female Martyrs died.” Then Minister Hamad singled out mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi who led the killing of 37 Israeli civilians, among them 12 children, in 1978. As a third example, the minister mentioned the fact that “there are also female prisoners in the occupation’s prisons.” These examples served the minister as proof of gender equality in Palestinian society and that men and women are “going hand in hand”:

PA Minister of Women’s Affairs Amal Hamad: “The first women’s committee was on Oct. 26, 1929, in the shadow of the Al-Buraq Rebellion. The mighty rebellion (i.e., Hebron Massacre, 1929) in which great Martyrs died… The mighty rebellion in which the women were partners in the battle of resolve and defiance, and nine female Martyrs died… We don’t think that there is a difference [between the genders] in Palestinian society. Especially in the battle of the national struggle we emphasize going hand in hand. The proof of this is what I said… There were nine female Martyrs. We speak about Dalal Mughrabi and the Martyrs of the [Fatah] Central Committee. There is a long list and there are also female prisoners in the occupation’s prisons. Therefore, we are going hand in hand [with the men].”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Oct. 26, 2021]

Hamad also stressed Palestinian women’s “participation in defending the land with all forms and means” – a term used by PA leaders to include using all types of violence, including deadly terror ‎against Israeli civilians such as stabbings and shootings, as well as throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails.:

Minister Hamad: “The celebrations of this national day will take place this year on the land of the village of Beita, and to be precise Jabal Sbeih (i.e., mountain in the West Bank where the Jewish outpost of Evyatar is located), in order to emphasize the popular resistance and the women’s participation in defending the land with all forms and means…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 26, 2021]

The minister’s focus on terrorists and women’s equality in”the national struggle” is not surprising. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi by the PA has been turned into one of the most revered role models for women.

Similar to the minister’s emphasis, other prominent women of the PA focused on Palestinian women’s equal status within the context of “the struggle.” Among the roles Palestinian women have taken upon themselves and excelled in, PA Governor Laila Ghannam chose to stress their activities as terrorists attacking Israel: “self-sacrificing fighters, fighters, expelled, wounded, prisoners, and Martyrs”:

Ghannam: “The Palestinian women… have always been the spearhead alongside the men in defending our national rights: liberation and the right to self-determination. Therefore, the women have engraved the significance of this day with blood in defense of the Palestinian right… They have been self-sacrificing fighters, fighters, expelled, wounded, prisoners, and Martyrs.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 26, 2021]

It is intriguing – and worrisome – that both women above, who themselves have climbed to the top of the PA career ladder, becoming governors and ministers, chose to highlight Palestinian women’s equal status as terrorists, and hardly mentioned any female achievements in any other field - not as lawyers, performers, engineers, artists, educators, or any other worthy professions.

While she did say that women’s presence and participation in all sectors and on the decision making level is important, and also mentioned Palestinian women’s achievements in medicine, PA Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila also mostly stressed women’s participation in violence and terror. She mentioned the Palestinian female prisoners and encouraged Palestinian women in general to continue engaging in violence and terror – packaging it in the PA euphemism “popular resistance”:

Minister Al-Kaila: “This day is an honoring of the Palestinian struggle and appreciation for [the women’s] role and participation in all stages of the struggle and building the institutions of the Palestinian state…

I also emphasize the role of the female Palestinian prisoners in all stages of the national struggle. They are an important phenomenon of struggle in the history of the Palestinian people and the prisoners’ movement. My message to the Palestinian women is that they should continue in the popular resistance (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror) and continue to work alongside the men.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 26, 2021]

Possibly young Palestinian women look up to these female PA figures as role models and hearing praise for women who attacked Israelis from these personalities can only be understood as endorsement and encouragement of women choosing the path of violence and terror.

A regular columnist for the official PA daily also chose to focus on Palestinian women’s role in terror. Although he did note that Palestinian women have “climbed the ladder of science, culture, art, knowledge, martial arts, support, and aid,” columnist Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul described this progress within the context of “the national struggle against the Zionist colonialist project.” Al-Ghoul summarized by highlighting the fact that 40 Palestinian female terrorists – “lauded women” - are in jail:

The proof that the women are continuing to fulfill their pioneering role is the fact that 40 lauded women from among the Palestinian people are in the Zionist enemy’s prison.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 28, 2021]

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above:

PA Minister of Women’s Affairs Amal Hamad: “The first women’s committee was on Oct. 26, 1929, in the shadow of the Al-Buraq Rebellion. The mighty rebellion (i.e., Hebron Massacre, 1929) in which great Martyrs died who are immortalized by history, including Muhammad Jamoum, Fadi (sic., Fuad) Hijazi, and Ataa Al-Zir (i.e., murderers) – The mighty rebellion in which the women were partners in the battle of resolve and defiance, and nine female Martyrs died… We don’t think that there is a difference [between the genders] in Palestinian society. Especially in the battle of the national struggle we emphasize that we are all [going] hand in hand. This is always the slogan, and the proof of this is what I said about Muhammad Jamjoum and Ataa Al-Zir – I said that there were nine female Martyrs. We speak about Dalal Mughrabi and the Martyrs of the [Fatah] Central Committee. There is a long list and there are also female prisoners in the occupation’s prisons. Therefore, we are [going] hand in hand [with the men].”

 [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Oct. 26, 2021]

The Al-Buraq Rebellion or the 1929 Arab Riots - was a wave of Arab violence in late August 1929 following a Jewish protest at the Western Wall calling for national rights. In a week, 133 Jews were killed – mostly murdered in their homes by Arabs, including the Hebron Massacre in which 65 Jews were murdered in one day and the Safed Massacre in which 18 Jews were murdered in one day; 116 Arabs were also killed during the confrontations – mostly by British police trying to stop the riots. The British reported the cause of violence in the riots was “the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews” (1930 Shaw Commission Report).

Dalal Mughrabi – female Palestinian terrorist who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978, when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway, murdering 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.

Excerpt of an article for Palestinian Women’s Day on Oct. 26, 2021, which contains texts from several prominent Palestinian women

Headline: “Their day from their perspective – letters of pride and reproach”

Ramallah and El-Bireh District Governor Laila Ghannam: My message to the Palestinian women is that despite the pain, we have hope.

The Palestinian women have fulfilled and are still fulfilling an important and central role in the national liberation movement since the outbreak of the Palestinian revolution and until this very day. They are determined to defy [the occupation] and contribute to building the society despite all the suffering caused to them as a result of the occupation and its oppressive policy, which harms everything in our land…

The women have always been the spearhead alongside the men in defending our national rights: liberation and the right to self-determination. Therefore, the women have engraved the significance of this day with blood in defense of the Palestinian right and while standing against the occupier and all its plans of elimination, which target our people and its just cause. They have been self-sacrificing fighters, fighters, expelled, wounded, prisoners, and Martyrs.

All around the world women are dealing with many regular challenges, but in Palestine the women are dealing with difficult challenges, and foremost among them the occupation that behaves brutally, abuses everything Palestinian, and makes the lives of our people bitter…

[PA] Minister of Women’s Affairs Amal Hamad: The Palestinian women are an unprecedented case

The Palestinian women are an unprecedented case through their resolve and rootedness in the land…

The celebrations of this national day will take place this year on the land of the village of Beita, and to be precise Jabal Sbeih (i.e., mountain in the West Bank where the Jewish outpost of Evyatar is located), in order to emphasize the popular resistance and the women’s participation in defending the land with all forms and means (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror)…

[PA] Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila: The date when the first Palestinian woman ascended to Heaven as a Martyr in 1929

Palestinian Women’s Day is an important day that the [PA] government established as taking place each year on October 26. This is the date when the first Palestinian woman ascended to Heaven as a Martyr in 1929 (in other places in the article it is claimed the date was when the first women’s conference was held in Jerusalem -Ed.). This day is an honoring of the Palestinian struggle and appreciation for [the women’s] role and participation in all stages of the struggle and building the institutions of the Palestinian state…

At this opportunity I also emphasize the role of the female Palestinian prisoners in all stages of the national struggle. They are an important phenomenon of struggle in the history of the Palestinian people and the prisoners’ movement. My message to the Palestinian women is that they should continue in the popular resistance (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror) and continue to work alongside the men until the establishment of the Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem…

President of the [Palestinian] Central Bureau of Statistics Ola Awad: A message of loyalty to the Palestinian women… This is the day of the ladies of the land, on which we send them a message of pride and a gesture of loyalty in appreciation for the contribution that the Palestinian women have given, are giving, and will give in the various fields. This is a message of loyalty to all the women who sacrificed their lives as Martyrs in defense of the homeland, and to all the female prisoners who are confronting the prison guards in the darkness of the occupation’s prisons and hoping for freedom…

On this date on Oct. 26, 1929, the first Palestinian women’s conference was held in Jerusalem… The Palestinian women participated alongside the Palestinian Arab people (sic., men) in the political activities that have been organized since 1929, and this was following the escalation in the Al-Buraq Rebellion events (i.e., the 1929 Hebron Massacre and accompanying riots) and their spread throughout Palestine. They did what was required of them. Nine women died as Martyrs, homes were destroyed, families were left without a roof, and many were put in prisons. Here the Palestinian women’s participation in the political activity began…

Editor in Chief of the [official PA news] agency WAFA Khuloud Assaf: Restoring the Palestinian women’s honor

As part of the [PA] leadership’s plan to work to empower the Palestinian women and strengthen their position as leaders on the national level, the [PA] government made a decision determining that October 26 of each year will be Palestinian Women’s Day. This governmental decision is tantamount to restoring the honor to the Palestinian women and their historical struggles… This is an unavoidable result of the Palestinian women’s contribution in the arenas of struggle in all its forms (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror), alongside the Palestinian men…

[Palestine] Broadcasting Corporation Director-General of Training and Development Rima Al-Jamrah: An opportunity to emphasize the women’s national role

Palestinian Women’s Day is an opportunity to emphasize [the women’s] ongoing role in giving and struggle, which began long ago and continues on the path to freedom, independence, and building our independent Palestinian state – and it is no wonder that this is so, because they are the mothers, the wives, the sisters; they are the Martyrs and the prisoners; they create the men.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 26, 2021]

The terms “all means,” “all means of resistance,” “all forms,” are ‎used by PA leaders to include using all types of violence, including deadly terror ‎against Israeli civilians such as stabbings and shootings, as well as throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails.

The terms "peaceful uprising/resistance,” and “popular uprising/resistance" are used by PA leaders at times to refer to peaceful protest and at times to refer to deadly terror attacks and terror waves. For example, ‎Mahmoud Abbas defined as “peaceful popular” the murderous terror during the 2015-2016 ‎terror wave (“The Knife Intifada”), in which 40 people were killed (36 Israelis, 1 Palestinian, 2 Americans and 1 Eritrean) and hundreds wounded in stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks. Abbas said: "We want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is." https://palwatch.org/page/9276

Excerpt of a column by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily and former advisor to former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on national affairs

Headline: “Women on their national [Palestinian Women’s] Day”

“Since they understood their role and their place, the women have stood alongside the men in all stages of the national struggle against the Zionist colonialist project, even when it was still at its start. They made sacrifices at all levels, and climbed the ladder of science, culture, art, knowledge, martial arts, support, and aid during the various battles. The proof that the women are continuing to fulfill their pioneering role is the fact that 40 lauded women from among the Palestinian people are in the Zionist enemy’s prison.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 28, 2021]