Commentary Magazine


Just in Time for Passover: An Anniversary Plaque for a Terrorist’s Family

Meet Israel’s partners in peace:

The Palestinian Authority has just honored the terrorist mastermind responsible for the ‘Passover Massacre’, a terrorist atrocity which claimed the lives of 30 innocent Israeli citizens . . . at Netanya’s Park Hotel on March 27, 2002. . . . [O]n March 28 Issa Karake, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, visited the family of Hamas suicide-bomb mastermind Abbas Al-Sayed, awarding them with an official, festive plaque, in celebration of the anniversary of the massacre.

The Passover Massacre was the single deadliest attack carried out during the terror war, with 30 killed and 140 injured. Israel responded with Operation Defensive Shield, which included the mobilization of reserves to wipe out the terror infrastructure in the West Bank. Although the campaign cut Palestinian suicide bombings in half and ended Arafat’s relevance, the Palestinian Authority has much reason to commemorate the Passover Massacre and Defensive Shield.

The global reaction to Israel’s campaign was a trial run for the more developed contemporary attacks on Israeli self-defense. The European Parliament passed a resolution calling for sanctions against Israel. Germany and Belgium suspended arms sales. Human Rights Watch accused the Jewish state of committing war crimes, and Amnesty International insisted that the defensive, targeted campaign constituted collective punishment.

In Jenin, of course, Israel was accused by Palestinian officials and human rights organizations of committing a “massacre.” Tales of ostensible Israeli atrocities—houses bulldozed with families inside, helicopters strafing fleeing refugees, summary mass executions, etc.—were peddled uncritically by media outlets. Civilian casualty figures of up to 500 were thrown around, and fake funerals were staged and credulously covered by Western journalists. Amnesty International provided an expert who opined that “the evidence before us at the moment doesn’t lead us to believe that the allegations are anything other than truthful.” There was even a United Nations investigation assembled, staffed partly by anti-Israel “experts” who had already declared Israel guilty.

The demonstrable truth—that the IDF went out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, losing 23 soldiers in the process of battling and killing roughly 50 Palestinian fighters—never caught up with the lies. You can still find the “Jenin Massacre” splashed across anti-Israel pamphlets, and inside the theses of Middle East Studies PhD’s.

Not that any of this was necessarily driving the Palestinian Authority officials who awarded Al-Sayed’s family that congratulatory plaque. They were probably just engaging in a typically cheery Palestinian death cult ritual, violating the PA’s anti-incitement obligations and reaching out to Hamas in the process. But credit where it’s due.

Feel free to check out the full-page spread that PA’s Al-Hayat newspaper devoted to the ceremony, which is behind the link. Thoroughly touching.