The Boulder, Colorado city council voted overwhelmingly Monday to reject a sister city application from Nablus, citing Palestinian Authority abuses in the West Bank city and its long history as a terrorist center.
Opponents of the proposal noted the Palestinian Authority’s dismal human rights record and lack of press freedom. Critics also blasted the frequency in Nablus of honor killings and the persecution of gays occuring within the city.
They also noted that Nablus was the point of origin of many of the bloodiest attacks of last decade’s Second Intifada, as well as more recent acts of terrorism. Israelis regard Nablus, including its Balata refugee camp, as the “terror capital” of the West Bank.
Scholars and terrorism experts have echoed those points:
The Nablus terrorist infrastructure directed and executed suicide attacks in which scores of Israeli citizens were killed and over 400 were wounded. The terrorism operational centers in Nablus instructed terrorist squads in the Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, and Ramallah areas to perpetrate terror attacks in the West Bank and inside Israel.
Boulder residents who advocated the sister city proposal characterized the city as “mountainous, cosmopolitan, and home to universities.” Nablus is in fact home to a single universide, An-Najah, which in 2001 hosted an exhibition featuring a recreation of a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria that killed 15 people.
The exhibition was not designed to condemn the atrocity:
“The room-sized installation had broken tables splattered with fake blood and body parts… The installation included a portrait of the bomber holding a koran and a rifle. Underneath, in a reference to the military wing of Hamas – Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades – the artist had written: “Qassami Pizza is more delicious.”
Colorado media reported that some supporters of the sister-city bid wept at Monday’s four-hour session, saying they had hoped to bring “yoga and rock climbing opportunities” to the West Bank city.
The motion was rejected 7-2.
[Photo: Michael.Loadenthal / Flickr]