Palestinian Authority Officials Under Fire for Extending Condolences to Top Israeli Officer’s Family


JAFFA, Israel – Palestinians from across the political spectrum condemned an official delegation that visited the family of a top Israeli officer after his death in a plane crash last week.

The outcry broke out after Palestinian officials, headed by Fatah leader Abbas Madani, paid tribute to Brig.-Gen. Munir Amar, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration in the West Bank and one of highest-ranking Druze officers in Israel’s history, who was killed earlier this week after his ultralight plane crashed.

Criticism came from Islamic and left-wing opponents of Fatah, but also from the ruling party’s own base.

“The treason clause should be removed from the Palestinian legal code,” wrote lawyer and Fatah activist Ahmad Faraj on his Facebook page. “The court system enforces it when ordinary citizens collaborate with the enemy, but looks the other way when officials do it. The principle of equality before the law simply doesn’t exist.”

Community activist Muhammad Almaqdesi commented sarcastically:

There, we extended our condolences to the family, honored the dead and spared him no compliment. We spoke no ill of the dead. I suggest we start mourning ourselves, because it is a divine decree and you are men of ethics. You are the ones I extend my condolences to.

Later he added: “I was asked by the father of a martyr whose body has been withheld by the Occupation for several months: ‘Will they extend their condolences to us? All we want is our children’s bodies back.’ ”

Fathi Qarawee, a Hamas MP, said the gesture was nothing new.

“No need to get angry, dear gentlemen,” he wrote.

Pandering to the other side is much more prevalent on TV and social media than a random visit. … Meeting with the most senior officials are held all the time and coordination is watertight, but all this is secret. … These meetings, held both here and abroad, contradict our national interests and principles, but we still address them as ‘your excellency’ and ‘your honor.’ This is how we want to build a homeland.”

Rasim Obeidat, a cartoonist and left-wing activist, said that the Central Committee of Fatah should expel the members of the delegation and give them the same treatment Egyptian lawmakers gave fellow MP Tawfik Okasha, who was humiliated and banned from parliament after meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Cairo.

“When Fatah official Abbas Zaki visited Tehran as part of a national Palestinian delegation, to thank them for their support for the families of martyrs, all the dogs in the Palestinian Authority started barking that he represents nobody but himself,” he wrote.

They ignore the fact that after Khomeini’s revolution, Iran turned the American embassy into the headquarters of the Palestinian diplomatic mission and that they have supported us all the way since. Some of them probably think of Iran as infidels, anti-Islamic, and an enemy state. But the people who were party to the mourning of the head of the Civil Administration do represent the Palestinian people? They should be treated like Okasha was treated in Egypt.