Palestinian Authority honors top terrorist the moment Biden leaves the West Bank

March 14, 2010

* “We are all Dalal Mughrabi,” declares PA Central Committee member
* Dalal Mughrabi killed 38 Israeli civilians including 13 young children
* Obama White House, Clinton State Department, silent

* A few liberal journalists finally write about the Palestinian economic upswing

* As Netanyahu government continues to destroy Jewish settlement foundations, as it did last week, the international media simply refuse to report it

* One of America’s largest liberal organizations, says it is “shocked and stunned” by the severity of the Obama administration’s criticism of Israel: “We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States”

* LA Times: “Clinton’s harsh words stun Israel, as she calls Israeli policy an insult to the U.S.”
* Wall St. Journal: “Hillary Clinton levies a blistering rebuke of Israel”


There is also another dispatch this weekend which can be read here:
MSNBC’s Matthews and NYT’s Bronner’s racist slur against Israelis



1. Palestinian Authority honors terrorist the moment Joe Biden leaves the West Bank
2. Obama administration, EU helping to fund the glorification of terrorists
3. The Israeli victims, aged 2, 3, 5, 6 and up
4. Main liberal American Jewish organization says it’s “stunned” by Obama’s attacks on Israel
5. “A blistering rebuke of Israel”

6. Israel continues to destroy Jewish settlement foundations – unreported by media
7. Anti-Israel activist attacks Jewish girl on campus
8. Egypt stepping up pressure on Hamas
9. Palestinian economy showing good growth, says Fayad
10. A few liberal journalists finally take note of the Palestinian economic upswing

11. Annual export of Israeli-grown apples into Syria begins
12. David Kimche, a “founding father” of the Mossad, dies at 82
13. The rights and wrongs of Armenian genocide resolutions
14. Murdoch moves Middle East base to Abu Dhabi

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


Dozens of Palestinian students from the youth division of Fatah, the party led by “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, gathered in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday to rename the main public square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the woman who in 1978 helped carry out the deadliest single terrorist attack in Israel’s history.

Mughrabi was the leader of a Fatah PLO terror squad armed with a stash of Kalashnikov rifles, RPG light mortars and high explosives, that sailed from Lebanon and landed on a beach between Haifa and Tel Aviv. They first killed a renowned American photojournalist (who was incidentally the niece of U.S. Democratic party Senator Abraham Ribicoff) who was taking nature photos, then hijacked a bus and commandeered another, embarking on a bloody rampage that left 38 Israeli civilians dead, 13 of them children.

Fatah representatives at the ceremony on Thursday described Mughrabi as “a courageous fighter who held a proud place in Palestinian history.”


“We are all Dalal Mughrabi,” declared Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

An official PA ceremony was postponed due to the visit to the region by Vice President Joe Biden. The square, planted with greenery and flowers, is outside the Palestinian Authority’s National Political Guidance headquarters. Political guidance chief Gen. Adnan Damiri said a statue of Mughrabi would be erected in the square.

The independent watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch said Fatah had already named two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship and two summer camps for Mughrabi in the last two years.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had previously said, “Whoever sponsors and supports naming a square in Ramallah after a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis on the coastal road encourages terrorism. Stop the incitement. This is not how peace is made.”


In fairness to The New York Times, which I often criticize, it should be noted that it was one of the few papers in the world to report this story (on Page 9 of the New York edition); it was ignored by almost every European newspaper I checked. The Times reporter in this case was Isabel Kershner, the number two in their Jerusalem bureau, who exemplifies fair and balanced coverage of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, unlike the Times’ bureau chief, Ethan Bronner.

The White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, which issued statements almost every day last week lambasting Israel, have yet to voice any criticism of this latest inflammatory gesture by the Palestinian government which clearly discourages its population from wanting peace. Indeed, while rebuking Israel week after week has become one of the Obama administration’s most consistent foreign policies, I cannot recall a single occasion when it has criticized the Palestinian Authority for anything.



Palestinian Authority Television (funded indirectly by west European governments and the Obama administration) also interviewed the terrorist’s sister, Rashida Mughrabi, on the anniversary of the attack. She called the attack a moment of “great pride” for all her family and urged Palestinian TV viewers to carry out more such attacks.

On Thursday, the host of Palestinian Authority TV also lavishly praised the 1978 attack which he called “a glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people.”

He told assembled children gathered in the studio audience that “the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi prepared to meet God by carrying out a self-sacrifice. She is a symbol and model of resistance, sacrifice, and Martyrdom-seeking.”



The Palestinian Authority deliberately chose the 32nd anniversary of the coastal massacre (March 11) to celebrate its chief perpetrator.

Time Magazine (March 20, 1978) reported then: “Slipping ashore from the Mediterranean on the afternoon of the Sabbath, the terrorists hijacked two buses filled with tourists and sightseers, took them on a wild ride down the road toward Tel Aviv, shooting along the way at everyone in sight, and finally destroyed one bus in an orgy of fire and death.”

Today many in the media would probably call it an “act of resistance” rather than “an orgy of fire and death”.

Since, as far as I can see, not a single newspaper, including even those few that mentioned the Palestinian Authority decision to honor the chief murderer on Thursday, named any of the victims, here is a list of all but 7 of them (whose names I couldn’t find):

Galit Ankwa (aged 2)
Yitzhak (Yitzik) Ankwa (10)
Haviv Ankwa (38)
Naama Hadani (5)
Ilan Hohman (3)
Roi Hohman (6)
Rebecca Hohman (28)
Mordechai (Moti) Zit (9)
Revital (Tali) Aharonovitch (14)
Naomi Elichai (18)
Erez Alfred (5)
Yitzhak Alfred (44)
Mathilda (Mathy) Askenazy-Daniel (68)
Yehuda Basterman (32)
Rina Bushkenitch (34)
Dov Bushkenitch (36)
Liat Gal-On (6)
Shim’aon Glotman (43)
Amnon Drori (43)
Josef Kheloani (66)
Malka Leibovitch-Wiess (58)
Tzyona Lozia-Cohen (32)
Abraham Lozia (37)
Otari Mansurov (37)
Yoav (Yoavi) Meshkel (6)
Tuvia Rozner (53)
Gail Rubin (40)
Meir Segal (73)
Katy (Rina) Sosensky (49)
Joseph Sosensky (56)
Zvi (Zvika) Eshet (46)
Omry Tel-Oren (14)



The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of America’s largest liberal organizations, with close ties to the Democratic Party, has said it is “shocked and stunned by the Obama Administration’s public dressing down of Israel.”

In a statement released Friday afternoon, it said: “We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem. We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table.

“It is especially troubling that this harsh statement came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly and privately explained to Vice President Biden the bureaucratic nature in making the announcement of proposed new building in Jerusalem, and Biden accepted the prime minister’s apology for it. Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends.”

Tom Gross adds: On Friday, the U.S. State Department under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, used stronger language in public against Israel than it has done against many human rights abusing-governments the world over during the past year. Who cares, for example, that 50,000 Muslim Burmese refugees are on the verge of starvation in Bangladesh, when you can bash Israel day after day, as the Obama administration did last week?



From among the newspaper headlines:

The Los Angeles Times: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s harsh words stun Israel

A spat over the Ramat Shlomo housing project in east Jerusalem becomes a bigger clash as the secretary of State calls it “an insult to the United States.”


The Wall Street Journal: Clinton Blasts Israel For Imperiling Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton levied a blistering rebuke of Israel, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the two countries’ historic alliance could be adversely affected if his government doesn’t more aggressively embrace the Middle East peace process.


Reuters: Insulted by Israel, U.S. scrambles to save talks

Israel’s relationship with the United States, a defining feature of the troubled Middle East, was under severe strain as diplomats scrambled on Saturday to save newborn U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.


The Washington Post: U.S. warns Israel on “negative signal”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel yesterday that Israel had sent a “deeply negative signal” about the U.S.-Israeli relationship and urged him to take immediate steps to demonstrate that it was interested in renewing efforts at a Middle East peace agreement.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley described the nearly 45-minute phone conversation in unusually undiplomatic terms, signaling that the close allies are facing their deepest crisis in two decades… Officials noted the length of the call -- such diplomatic conversations usually last about 10 minutes -- and said Clinton did most of the talking.

… Relations with Israel have been strained almost since the start of the Obama administration. Now they have plunged to their lowest ebb since the administration of George H.W. Bush… In her call, Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in Jerusalem.

…. Clinton’s call risked emboldening Arab and Palestinian officials to make new demands before talks start, if only so as not to seem softer than the Americans… Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was summoned to a meeting at the State Department..

[The above text is from The Washington Post.]



Tom Gross continues: The item below is from the JTA, a left-of-center American Jewish media outlet. All the Western journalists based in Israel know that the Netanyahu government has clamped down on Jewish settlement building more than any other government in Israeli history, while at the same time allowing massive expansion of Arab towns and neighborhoods both in the West Bank and inside Israel. But almost none of them report it, nor does the Obama administration mention it.

March 11, 2010
Israel destroys West Bank building foundations

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Civil Administration, accompanied by Israeli troops, destroyed six new building foundations in Jerusalem’s Etzion bloc.

Five of the foundations destroyed Wednesday night in the Bat Ayin community were for private homes and one was for a synagogue, according to reports.

Earlier Wednesday, the Civil Authority demolished a building foundation in the settlement of Yakir. Residents protested during the demolition.



The University of California at Berkeley was again the site of a clash involving pro-Israel and anti-Israel activists last Friday when Husam Zakharia, leader of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), assaulted Jessica Felber who was standing quietly with a sign that read “Israel Wants Peace” outside an “Israel Apartheid Week” event. Zakharia grabbed a shopping cart filled with goods donated to Hamas-controlled Gaza and rammed it into her from behind. The District Attorney is expected to file charges against Zakharia.

Felber said that Friday’s incident was not the first time Zakharia had used violence against pro-Israel advocates. According to her, physical intimidation has frequently been employed as a tool by SJP to silence students opposing their anti-Israel activities on campus. “SJP students have been terrorizing us for three years with intimidation, accusations and threats. This incident is simply the last straw and we are not going to tolerate it anymore.”



Cairo has severely toughened its stance against Hamas, refusing to allow exit permits for Hamas leaders to leave Gaza, and blocking the entry of Arab and Muslim delegations into Gaza.

It is also demanding that Hamas unconditionally sign a reconciliation agreement with Fatah prepared by the Egyptians.

The moves come amid tensions resulting from Egypt’s construction of a land and sea wall between the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, and the killing of an Egyptian policeman by Palestinian snipers shooting across the border. Egyptian artists and actors have organized a protest against Hamas’ conduct while demanding that the officer’s killers be handed over. (Meanwhile many European artists and actors have issued statements in de facto support of Hamas rule in Gaza, much as their predecessors used to issue de facto pro-Soviet statements during the Cold War – an appalling practice for which most have never apologized; until now certain Western writers and artists are detested in eastern Europe and Russia as a result.)

Some Hamas leaders in Gaza, where Hamas is widely reviled by much of the populace, are said to be ready to compromise and take a more pragmatic stance, but the Hamas leadership in Damascus, which is increasingly acting under the direct orders of the Syrian regime, are trying to force them to further toughen their stance.



Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad said last week that economic revenues in the West Bank have hit a ten-year high. At a press conference on Monday, he told reporters (not that all those anti-Israeli media in the West bothered to report it) that he expects his financial reforms to spur a Palestinian economic growth rate of at least 7 percent this year, matching the significant growth last year. He estimated the loss of revenue to the Palestinian Authority because of Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip to be about $500 million.



I have noted several times over the last 18 months that all the doom and gloom stories in certain Western media about Palestinian economic hardship have given Western publics a highly distorted view of reality on the ground in both the West Bank and Gaza. I know this from speaking on a daily basis with a wide range of Palestinians, and from my many trips into the West Bank in 2009, visiting towns like Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. I related some of these experiences in a series of pieces, for example here in this article for The Wall Street Journal: Building peace without Obama’s interference.

Now, finally, some among the anti-Israeli journalistic Left are begrudgingly beginning to admit that the Palestinian economic growth, which the Olmert and Netanyahu governments in Israel have done much to aid and encourage, is real.

For example, the sometimes aggressively anti-Israeli journalist Joe Klein writes this week of his recent trip to the West Bank, in a piece for Time magazine titled “West Bank Renewal”. He says: “Sometimes the prosaic can be breathtaking. I am standing in the new showroom of a company that manufactures plumbing supplies in Hebron… Royal now has 360 employees, new product lines – fireplaces, welcome mats – and a new wing, complete with an assembly hall. It has an on-site mosque and a cafeteria. The Izgayer brothers’ story is at the heart of the new optimism and old frustrations that mark the West Bank territory of Palestine.”

And Bernard Avishai, another harsh critic of Israel, writes a piece in Foreign Policy magazine titled “The real hope of economic peace”. He says: “Everybody knows the core issues between Israelis and Palestinians, except for the one that will matter the most and can be acted on immediately, before any comprehensive deal; the one where Israel’s concessions will not compromise its security but enhance it. I am speaking of Palestine’s economy, specifically, its private sector, the driver of civil society and spine of any future state.”


Of course, media in countries where hatred of Israel is rife, like the media in Britain, still have a long way to go before they stop their daily diatribe of phony stories about a “Palestinian humanitarian crisis”.



The annual export of Israeli-grown apples into Syria has begun in the Golan Heights. It will last for several weeks. The event is significant because Israel and Syria are officially at war and have no diplomatic or economic ties.

Syria agreed to accept only those apples grown by Israel’s Druze community, not those grown by Jews.

Over 30 trucks, carrying approximately 10,000 tons of apples are expected to cross into Syria every day over the course of the next few weeks. 2010 marks the fifth consecutive year in which Israeli-grown apples are transferred into Syria.

Representatives of the Red Cross and UN are coordinating the crossing under the supervision of the Israeli army.

(I have written about this annual apple export in dispatches in past years, but think it is worth drawing attention to it again.)



Former top Mossad operative David Kimche died earlier this week at the age of 82.

Born in London in 1928, Kimche moved to Israel in 1946. In the early 1950s, he joined the newly formed Mossad spy agency, and was in essence one of its founding fathers, and among those who fashioned its doctrines and modus operandi.

Yossi Melman, a subscriber to this list familiar with intelligence matters, notes that Kimche (who was also a subscriber to this list) was involved in almost every aspect of the Mossad over the course of his service, eventually reaching the position of deputy head of the organization.

“Kimche was a classic intelligence man, similar in style to the characters described by the British author John le Carre in his spy novels,” noted Melman. “He was a man of soft words, who was known for his elegant English accent and courteousness. These qualities would sometimes deceive people, as he could be very cunning, determined, and even cruel.”

At one point Kimche was responsible for recruiting and operating agents which were sent to Arab countries. He also helped forge ties between Israel and countries in Africa and was one of the founders of the Mossad’s research department. He was Israel’s point man in the Iran-contra affair, in the 1980s.

In his last years, Kimche, by then a Jerusalem Post columnist, became a radical leftist, urging Israel to recognize Hamas, among other things.

Among past dispatches on this list concerning the Mossad, please see:

* Israel Harel, “The man who made the Mossad” (Feb. 19, 2003)
* BBC set to name woman agent who killed Olympics massacre mastermind (Jan. 24, 2006)



American commentator Max Boot (who is a subscriber to this email list) writes:

The Turks are wrong – and worse, stupid – to keep denying that a genocide was perpetrated against the Armenians in 1915. There is little doubt that mass killings occurred; to claim that it was not “genocide” is quibbling over terminology. I fail to see what Turkey would lose if it were to admit that genocide occurred. It’s not as if the current Turkish government or its immediate predecessors were responsible. The violence occurred during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. It would be easy enough for Turkish leaders to say, “We’re very sorry that these horrible acts were perpetrated by our countrymen under a previous regime that we repudiate and condemn.” They would thereby get considerable credit in world opinion. What’s the downside? At worst they might have to pay some reparations – but that’s something that prosperous modern Turkey could afford to do.

That said, Washington lawmakers are equally wrong – and worse, stupid – in trying to pass resolutions commemorating the Armenian genocide. That’s something the House Foreign Affairs Committee just did, prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador from Washington. What good does such a resolution do? It does nothing to deliver justice for the victims, annoys a key NATO ally, and also does nothing to help the state of Armenia, which would benefit from better relations with its large neighbor, Turkey. Lawmakers find it easy to go along with what they view as essentially a meaningless gesture to wealthy Armenian campaign contributors; but, in the process, they create major headaches for policy makers.

That’s something that Obama, Biden, and Clinton are discovering for themselves. After having supported Armenian genocide resolutions while in Congress, they are now lobbying their former colleagues not to pass a resolution that will make it harder to work with Turkey on pressing issues such as Iranian sanctions. Doesn’t Congress have anything better to do with its time?



Fox News will follow its rival CNN International network, and move its Middle East base to the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi.

News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch announced last week that Abu Dhabi is to become the headquarters of his global media empire in the Middle East. That empire includes Fox News and a slew of other TV stations and print media. Murdoch said he would also move a number of satellite television channels to the capital of the United Arab Emirates from Hong Kong.

Addressing 400 delegates at the opening of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Murdoch noted that his corporation had started out as a small Australian firm and become a U.S.-based international company that employs 64,000 people.

“When we look to the future, News Corporation is betting on the creative potential of the more than 335 million people who make up the Arab world,” he said.

During his speech, Murdoch took the opportunity to urge leaders in the Arab world to encourage greater press freedom and tolerate critical coverage.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.