The Palestinian Authority joined Hamas and other terrorist groups in praising the Arab-Israeli man who murdered three people in Tel Aviv before dying in a shootout with Israeli police after a days-long manhunt.
The PA’s Ministry of Health called terrorist Nashat Milhem “one of the most precious martyrs whose name has been inscribed with his pure blood that watered the soil of our free land,” The Jerusalem Post reported. “We are proud of our Palestinian people in the 1948 lands,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to Arab-Israelis. “We are proud of their sacrifices and achievements. No one can deny their belonging to their homeland, Palestine.”
The statement was released by the PA after its decision to add and then remove Milhem from its official list of martyrs. The retraction, which the PA says was necessitated by the fact that Milhem was an Israeli citizen and therefore not under its jurisdiction, caused a major public backlash.
Veteran Palestinian affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh told the Algemeiner that “Palestinians started going crazy on social media against the PA for removing the name. An Arabic hashtag calling Melhem a martyr was created, and Hamas also got into the act.” He added that “someone must have told the PA that having Melhem deemed a ‘martyr’ might not be such a wise move, due to the way it would be perceived in Israel and abroad, so it suddenly disappeared.”
Abu Toameh also pointed out that the PA’s decision was inconsistent, as Muhanad Alukabi, the Israeli Bedouin who killed an IDF soldier and injured 11 others during an attack at a Beersheba bus station this past October, was still registered on its list of martyrs.
Families of Palestinian terrorists who are on the PA’s official martyr list receive monthly salaries, which experts say incentivize these attacks. Still-living terrorists get a similar stipend from the PA, the size of which correlates with the severity of their attack. A report in The Telegraph in 2014 showed that the PA used over $90 million in foreign aid from Britain to pay convicted terrorists in the prior year. This equaled around 16% of all foreign aid payments to the PA.
On Friday, Fatah—the dominant political party in the PA that’s headed by President Mahmoud Abbas—also posted a picture of Milhelm’s dead body on its official Facebook page. “Nashat Milhem died as a martyr after an armed confrontation in the courtyard of a mosque in Umm Al-Fahm on blessed Friday, congratulations and may Allah receive you in Heaven,” read the caption, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
Fatah’s opponents—the terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—also decried Milhem’s death, with Hamas saying it “was not the end of the story.”
Milhem opened fire on a Tel Aviv bar on New Year’s Day, killing 26-year-old shift manager Alon Bakal and 30-year-old patron Shimon Ruimi, and injuring seven others. He murdered Ayman Shaaban, a Bedouin cab driver from Lod, later that day while fleeing from authorities.
Milhem was fatally shot on Friday during a gun battle with Israeli security forces, who tracked him to his home village of Arara in northern Israel.
According to the Times of Israel, mourners in the West Bank town of al-Ramm erected a burial tent in honor of Milhem on Saturday, which they draped with a sign that read, “We join the family in the mourning the heroic martyr Nashat Milhem, who today has become a martyr of Palestine.” That afternoon, hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets to honor Milhem during a rally that was organized by Hamas, which rules the Strip. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had praised the terrorist the previous day, saying that Melhem “went in the streets of Tel Aviv like a brave hero in order to bring them death.”
In contrast, the village council of Arara, where Milhem’s family lives, condemned the terror attacks and sent its condolences to the families of the victims. “The council makes clear that this is the action of one man and is not representative of the village, and stresses that the incident is alien to our culture and the culture of the village,” it said. Milhem’s father Muhammad, who serves as a volunteer police officer, initially alerted local authorities that the gunman was his son after seeing footage of the bar shooting on television. He also expressed his sorrow over the attacks. According to Haaretz, several youths from Arara marched on the streets following Milhem’s death, chanting, “With blood, with fire, we’ll avenge the martyr.”
Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service reports that 28 people have been killed and 280 wounded in 160 terror attacks since September 13. Israeli security experts and Palestinian activists have attributed the ongoing wave of terror to incitement from Palestinian leaders, including PA officials.
In November, the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning incitement by the PA. At the time, the measure’s co-sponsor Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) said, “It is well past time for Abbas to stand up and condemn all acts of violence, rather than encouraging violence by glorifying terrorists and teaching children to view Israelis as animals.”
[Photo: Euronews / Youtube ]