TEL AVIV – The murder of 22 Israeli children and their teachers in a terror attack in the 1970s was an “act of heroism,” a program broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV declared last week.
The narrator of Buy Time in Jerusalem, a PA TV program aired on July 1, goes on to say of the terrorists who carried out the murders, “their souls would float as Martyrs above the skies of Palestine,” according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.
The PA program explained that Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Central Committee member Omar Mahmoud Al-Qassem, who was in an Israeli prison at the time, was brought by Israeli authorities to the elementary school when it was under siege to try and convince the captors to release the hostages. Instead, al-Qassam, whom the narrator describes as “an outstanding leader, a ferocious fighter, and a proud prisoner,” turned to the terrorists and told them to carry out the attack because “your enemy is treacherous.”
“Immediately after his few words, his comrades responded to the call and blew up the military academy,” the narrator said — misrepresenting the Netiv Meir Elementary School as a place that trains soldiers — “so that their souls would float as Martyrs above the skies of Palestine.”
The interest in the 1974 terror attack comes after a square was named in Jenin last month after Nazzal, the former secretary of the DFLP’s Central Committee and commander of its military branch. The inauguration event was attended by several Palestinian officials and a monument praising Nazzal as a “martyr” was also erected in his honor.
The naming of the square and monument sparked a harsh response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was lying when he promised President Donald Trump a few weeks earlier that he was not involved in incitement and the Palestinians were raising their children in a “culture of peace.”
Israel warned the PA that the monument had to be removed or the IDF would enter Jenin and take it down. It was not removed, and Israeli troops destroyed the monument. During ensuing clashes, a local Palestinian shot and wounded an Israeli soldier. Six Palestinian rioters were injured, one seriously. Afterwards, the PA and its ruling Fatah faction restored the monument.
“It does not matter how many times the occupation removes the monument in memory of the Martyr – it is our obligation to rebuild it,” Abbas’ Fatah movement said last Sunday.
The local branch of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) posted pictures to its Facebook page of the reerected monument.
The accompanying text reads, “Khaled Nazzal will remain alive and immortal in the conscience of his people, his comrades and all those struggling for the freedom and independence of Palestine.”
“Compromising” on Nazzal’s monument, the group said, “will open for targeting all the symbols of our national movement and history.”
Fatah added that in an act of “solidarity” with Jenin, another monument in honor of Nazzal was assembled in Ramallah on Saturday bearing the inscription, “This is a monument in memory of Martyr (Shahid) Khaled Nazzal, which was established as a challenge to the occupation authorities.”
In the latest act of defiance, Burqin, a town not far from Jenin in the West Bank, also named a street after Nazzal. The Wattan independent news agency said on July 6 that the street was named after the terror leader as a direct “response to the occupation authorities’ decision to remove and destroy the Martyr Nazzal monument in Jenin.”