28 December '15..
Shabiba, a Palestinian Arab student group that belongs to the Fatah movement, decorated a Christmas tree with pictures of murderers and terrorists.
According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an organization that monitors Arab media in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, Fatah posted pictures “of the tree along with members of its student movement on its official Facebook page.”
The majority of officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) belong to Fatah. The PA was created as part of the 1990’s Oslo diplomatic process which allowed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), previously designated a terror group by the United States, Israel and others, and its ruling Fatah party to relocate from Tunisia and establish limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As part of Oslo, PA officials are required to prevent incitement to anti-Jewish violence, as well as attacks themselves.
Terrorists whose images were adorned by Fatah on the tree include Fathi Shaqaqi, the founder of Islamic Jihad, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist group responsible for more than 1,000 attacks and Abu Ali Mustafa, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another U.S.-listed terrorist organization and one that rejected the Oslo accords.
A picture of Muhannad Halabi also was hung proudly by Fatah as a Christmas ornament. Halabi murdered 2 Israeli civilians, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennet, during an Oct. 3, 2015 terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. Before he was killed by Israeli police, Halabi also stabbed Bennett’s wife Adele and their 2-year-old child, who both survived.
In a Facebook post prior to the attack, Halabi stated that he was committing the attacks in response to PA claims that Israel was going to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As CAMERA has documented (“Incitement over Temple Mount Leads to Palestinian Violence, Again,” Sept. 16 2015), this libel has been used on numerous occasions to incite anti-Jewish violence.
CAMERA has noted other efforts by Palestinian Arab leadership to honor Halabi, such as the PA ministry of education planting trees in his name and the PA Bar Association awarding him an honorary law degree (“’Moderate’ Palestinian Authority Honors Murderers with Trees and Law Degrees,” October 15).
A sign near the Christmas tree that appeared in Shabiba’s Facebook post was translated by PMW:
“The way to freedom is a bullet and a Martyr, a pen and a prisoner, an olive tree and a wounded, a crescent and a cross [.] Merry Christmas [Fatah] Shabiba student movement Birzeit University.”
Birzeit University, where the photographed tree and smiling Shabiba students are apparently located, has active student groups representing both Fatah and its sometime rival Hamas, also U.S.-designated terrorist group. The university is located in the town of Birzeit near Ramallah and has hosted previously anti-Israel guest speakers, including American linguist Noam Chomsky. Birzeit University Fund, a self-described charitable organization based in Royal, Oak Michigan, raises money for the college.
PMW reports that at a recent December 15 meeting with British and Australian politicians, the PA Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, and PA Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, denied that the PA and Fatah glorify terrorists.
Regarding PA incitement to violence and memorializing murderers, perhaps Charles Dickens, the famous Victorian-era author, said it best in A Christmas Carol: “An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”
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