In a move intended to encourage the Palestinians to return to peace negotiations, Israel returned the remains of 91 Palestinians on May 31, most of whom were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said:
“We hope that this humanitarian gesture will serve both as a confidence-building measure and help get the peace process back on track… Israel is ready for the immediate resumption of peace talks without any preconditions whatsoever.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the move:
“We believe that there is opportunity for direct negotiations. And we hope it was enhanced by the release of bodies today by the Israelis of Palestinians.”
Abbas has not commented on whether the gesture would persuade him to return to talks, however, the head of the Palestinian General Committee for Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh made the following statement:
“Today, we received the remains of 91 martyrs, 79 from the West Bank, and 12 from the Gaza who have been buried (by the Israelis) in an inhumane and unethical fashion in numbered graves in the Jordan valley”.
Inhumane and unethical? Rather it seems what is ‘inhumane’, is that bodies belonged to Palestinians who murdered innocent Israelis with no regard for the burial rites of their victims. And what is unethical is the Palestinian leadership’s continued glorification of these murderers as ‘martyrs’ for the Palestinian cause – which gives Israel good reason not to want to see their funerals used for the incitement of additional violence, or their graves turned into sites of pilgrimage for those who want to follow in their terrorist footsteps.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the bodies included a number of notorious terrorists responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths:
“Seven terrorists who in March 1975 took over the small Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv’s Geula Street, where they held hostages and killed eight of them, in addition to three soldiers. Among the perpetrators of more recent – significantly post-Oslo – atrocities, whose remains were handed over to Abbas, are Labib Azzam, who in 1995 murdered five Israelis and wounded 23 others in Ramat Gan; Hassan Sarahneh, who in 1996 blew himself up at a hitchhiking post in Ashkelon; the suicide bombers who blew themselves up on the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in August 2003 and at Cafe Hillel in the city’s German Colony neighborhood one month afterward; Hiba Daraghmeh, who blew herself up at an Afula mall in 2003; Nasim Ja’bari and Ahmed Qawassmeh, who detonated two buses in Beersheba in 2004; Hassan Abu Said, the Islamic Jihad terrorist who blew himself up in Hadera’s open-air market in 2005; and Abdullah Badran, who attacked Tel Aviv’s Stage nightclub also in 2005.”
The Palestinian leadership’s glorification of terrorists, was also on display during the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal, where terrorists who committed terrible atrocities received a heroes welcome (see previous AIJAC blog post).
A Jerusalem Post editorial comments on hypocrisy of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) continued glorification of terrorists as ‘martyrs’:
“There’s an inherent contradiction between the hype and the PA’s reality. According to prodigious publicity buildups, Abbas is a genuine peace-seeker, a man of moderation and a sincere advocate of coexistence.
But under Abbas’s aegis, terrorists – past and present – are revered and feted. The official media he controls, the educational system he runs and the mosques whose clerics he appoints and subsidizes, all effuse paeans of praise for terrorists.
This is intense indoctrination of an anyway volatile population to regard mass murderers as role models.
When kindergarten tots are taught to aspire to become ‘martyrs’ to the cause of annihilating the Jewish state, they’re unlikely to grow up to become peace-loving neighbors. What’s inculcated into their impressionable young psyches is anything but nonviolent proclivities. Such concerted and ceaseless incitement plainly negates peace prattle (sounded mainly in English and for foreign consumption).
…as long as Palestinians are brainwashed, from the cradle, to venerate the slaughter of Israelis, an authentic change of heart will remain a chimera”.