The Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper praised Palestinian youth who died after carrying out or attempting to carry out stabbing attacks against Israelis, writing in a lead article Tuesday that “dying as a martyr is the path of excellence and superiority.”
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida listed 16 Palestinian high school students who it claimed were not able to take their final exams since they carried out terrorist attacks, but had instead “passed the difficult [test] of dying as martyrs for the sake of the homeland” with flying colors, the Middle East Media Research Institute reported. “The places of 16 students was not missing from yesterday’s announcement of the general high school [exam] results. This is despite the fact that the occupation’s bullets ended their lives and prevented them from taking their final exams, as they became martyrs in Paradise.”
Among those listed was 16-year-old Ahmad Abu Al-Rab, who in February carried out a shooting and stabbing attack in Jerusalem that killed an Israeli police officer — 19-year-old Hadar Cohen — and wounded another. Al-Rab and his two accomplices arrived at the Old City’s Damascus Gate armed with rifles, knives, and pipe bombs; authorities said they were intending to carry out a larger attack. The three were praised by Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, shortly thereafter.
A friend of Al-Rab interviewed by another PA paper, Al-Ayyam, described the assailant as having been “martyred by the bullets of the occupation soldiers on the steps of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.”
Other youth named by Al-Jadida were Labib Azem and Muhammad Zaghlawan, both 17, who broke into the home of a reserve army commander in the West Bank. “They attacked me with clubs and axes, and entered my home,” recounted Roi Harel after the attack. “After a couple of seconds I came to, and I ran after them as they had almost reached my children’s bedrooms. I managed to push them outside the house and I locked my door.”
Azem and Zaghlawan later continued searching for more victims, at which point they were found and shot by IDF soldiers.
“In these moments, we feel the absence of 16 students, the martyrs who should have taken the high school finals but who were prevented from taking them by the violent and aggressive occupation forces, who denied joy to their families,” said Ahmed Al-Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee.
A full list of the Palestinian assailants praised by the paper was translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
Palestinian children are often encouraged to honor those who carry out attacks against Israel, and to participate in such attacks themselves. The terrorist organization Hamas recently announced the opening of three-week-long training camps in the Gaza Strip for over 50,000 elementary, middle, and high school students, which aim “to raise a generation of Palestinians who love the resistance and the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” More than 10,000 Palestinian teenagers graduated from such camps in 2015, after undergoing intensive military training using live ammunition, as well as hearing sermons from Hamas leaders praising armed attacks.
In May, Palestinian kindergarten students in Gaza wore military fatigues and brandished toy machine guns to simulate the capture of an Israeli soldier as part of a school play.
Children’s cartoons aired on official Palestinian TV also demonize Jews and Israelis, and glorify those who attack them. In past years, a Hamas children’s show featured a Mickey Mouse lookalike named Farfur who called for suicide bombings against Jews. Hamas claimed a previous character, Nahul the bee, died because Israel refused to give him access to medical care.
A cartoon broadcast by Fatah TV during Ramadan featured Jews as agents of several devils, who opposed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. One devil is able to sway the Jews to fight against Muhammad after suffering “a defeat from one of the soldiers of Allah” because he knows “the burning hate and loathing of Muhammad and his supporters, that fills the hearts of the Jews.”
Similarly, a poem that teaches that “Zion is Satan with a tail” was recited by children six times on PA TV in recent years, PMW reported.
Multiple surveys of Palestinian public opinion have found widespread, consistent support for terror attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as negative perceptions of Jews. A poll conducted over the first three months of 2016 found that over 60 percent of Palestinians approve of “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel.”
Dan Polisar, the provost of Shalem College, explained in Mosaic Magazine in November that these polls reveal the extent to which “Palestinian perpetrators of violence reflect and are acting on the basis of views widely held in their society.”
[Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90 ]