Erekat calls Palestinian prisoners — many held for terrorism — ‘heroes’

Top Palestinian negotiator says men and women in Israeli jails are worthy of ‘admiration and honor’

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

The Palestinians’ top negotiator with Israel, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat, has praised prisoners held in Israeli jails — many of them for terrorist acts — as heroes deserving of “admiration and honor.”

Erekat was quoted by official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida as saying: “Our brave prisoners, who gave and sacrificed their freedom for Palestine and its freedom, are worthy of aid, support and constant activity by us in order to release them and put an end to their suffering.”

According to the quote, translated by Palestinian Media Watch on Friday, Erekat added that the Palestinian people “bow our heads in admiration and honor of the prisoners’ sacrifices, for their acts of heroism, and for their ongoing battle with the occupation.”

PA leadership has often praised the acts of terrorists who targeted and murdered Israelis. It recently honored as a “martyr” gunman Muhannad Halabi who killed two Israelis in Jerusalem.

The PA also pays salaries to prisoners and their families, as well as the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists killed while carrying out attacks.

Earlier this month the British government’s Department for International Development reportedly froze part of its aid to the PA over concerns the aid was being used to fund salaries for convicted Palestinian terrorists.

In September, the German government for the first time admitted that the Palestinian Authority likely grants financial support to terrorists and their families, and vowed to further investigate the matter.

The PA says that since 2014, these funds have been paid through the Palestine Liberation Organization, not the PA’s own budget, and so are not drawn from foreign donor governments’ development grants. Critics note that the heads of the PA and PLO are the same individuals, and insist the PLO uses PA funds for the payments.

Meanwhile Palestinian Media Watch also reported that students at the Palestinian al-Quds University recently erected a monument to the university’s “martyrs” which urged others to die for the Palestinian cause.

“Beware of natural death,” the plaque read. “Do not die but amidst the hail of bullets.” It went on to praise gunman Halabi as a hero.

According to independent news agency Wattan, the memorial stone was erected by a student group affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group.

The university apparently removed the stone, but only because it had not been coordinated with the administration. Asked if the faculty objected to the placard,

Dean of Student Affairs Abd Al-Raouf Abd Al-Sinawi told the news agency: “Why would we oppose [it]?”

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