A short video clip posted on the Fatah movement’s official Facebook page Thursday glorified a female army unit training to launch rockets at Israel and presented suicide bombers as role models for the Palestinian population.
Fatah is the PLO faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Fatah prides itself on its “young women,” who “part from their children, leave their homes and go to the battlefield carrying burial shrouds to fight in the ranks of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip,” a narrator can be heard saying, according to a translation provided by NGO Palestinian Media Watch, as a group of Palestinian women are seen training, assembling and setting up rockets, shooting and engaging in physical training.
“Another aspect of the Palestinian woman’s role in all areas is being created here,” the narrator continues.
“She is not merely the man’s partner in domestic life, but his companion wherever he is; on the battlefield, she is at his side on the frontline, and fulfills an active role in training generations of resistance [fighters], who will confront the ‘invincible’ army.”
The narrator proceeds to explain that the female fighters have “willpower stronger than mountains,” and that they “strive to become an important part of the path of Jihad and the struggle — the path walked by Dalal Mughrabi, Hanadi Jaradat and Reem Riyashi.”
In 1978, Mughrabi led one of the most lethal terror attacks in Israel’s history when she and several other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.
In 2003, Jaradat became one of the first female Palestinians to carry out a suicide attack, blowing up a Haifa restaurant. Twenty-one people were killed in the bombing and 51 were injured.
Riyashi blew herself up at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip in 2004, killing three soldiers as well as one civilian.
“These are the acclaimed Fatah women,” Fatah’s Facebook administrator said of the women training for attacks.
On Wednesday, armed groups linked to Fatah said they had begun launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel, in the first indication that Abbas’s movement was taking part in violence emanating from Gaza.
The Nidal Al-Amody force of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Grad and 107 millimeter rockets toward Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza, starting at 5 p.m Wednesday. Communiques specifying the attacks were published on Fatah’s official Facebook page.
Early Thursday morning, another armed force associated with Fatah, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, claimed responsibility for launching two Grad rockets at Ashkelon and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Oz near Khan Yunis.
A photo depicting two members of the Husseini Battalions preparing to launch a rocket at Israel was posted on Fatah’s Facebook page, its title reading “The Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Abdul Qader Husseini Brigades have proven today that they are the most loyal to the blood of the martyrs. They were among the first to quickly respond to the aggressive [Israeli] operation.”
On Wednesday, Abbas accused Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza. “Is this collective punishment?” Abbas asked. “No way it’s collective punishment. It’s genocide. It’s called genocide.”
Elhanan Miller contributed to this report