Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tom Gross: Palestinian Authority honours terrorist; White House mute.


by Tom Gross

The papers are full of reports about the startling criticism of Israel by the Obama administration — a criticism of a type not used by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton 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?)

The Los Angeles Times noted that "Hillary Rodham Clinton's harsh words stunned Israel."

The Wall Street Journal reported that "Clinton levied a blistering rebuke of Israel"

The Washington Post wrote that "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 [to Netanyahu], Clinton appeared to link U.S. military support for Israel to the construction in east Jerusalem."

Even the Anti-Defamation League, one of America's largest liberal organizations, with close ties to the Democratic Party, says it is "shocked and stunned by the Obama Administration's public dressing down of Israel."



At the same time as rebuking Israel, neither the White House nor State Department had anything to say about the fact that the U.S.-financed Palestinian Authority, led by "moderate" Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, renamed a central public square in Ramallah on Thursday 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 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.

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.



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."

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.


Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.  

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



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