The governor of the West Bank city of Nablus sparked widespread condemnation and calls for his resignation — including from the Hamas terror group — after he gave a rare condemnation of Palestinian mothers who send their sons to “martyr” themselves.
“There are perverse mothers out there who have sent their sons out for suicide missions and people think that such a mother is a fighter, but someone who sends her son to his death is no mother,” said Ibrahim Ramadan in an interview Wednesday with the Palestinian radio station Safa.
His comments were an unusual public criticism of the widespread veneration of “martyrs” in Palestinian society.
“Martyrs” include those killed while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis and also those killed in clashes with security forces, violent acts undertaken by settlers and other cases, and the Palestinian Authority pays millions of dollars in stipends to their families.
Opponents of Fatah — the ruling party in the PA, to which Ramadan belongs — were quick to jump on his words.
Hamas said in a statement that Ramadan’s comments “directly insult the resistance and the mothers of martyrs.”
“The statements are condemnable, irresponsible and outside of the national and moral framework to which our struggling and steadfast people is committed,” Hamas said.
Al-Risala, a Palestinian news site that serves as a mouthpiece for Hamas, published the backlash from the mothers of men who had been killed by the Israeli military.
Among the women expressing their anger was the mother of Ibrahim Nabulsi, an Al-Aqsa Brigades gunman who was killed by the IDF in early August after a months-long manhunt. Nabulsi had become a local hero after managing to avoid capture in several different raids sent to capture him.
Israel said Nabulsi was part of a squad that had committed several shooting attacks against soldiers and civilians in the West Bank earlier this year. He reportedly helped found a terror cell that brought together members of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other factions in the Nablus region, known as “The Lions’ Den.”
The terror group released a statement accusing Ramadan of disrespecting the mothers of martyrs, whom they likened to “mines of gold” and “the light by which we see the end of the tunnel.”
The statement also called on Ramadan to resign in order to “save face” and honor the years he spent in an Israeli prison.
In recent months Nablus has become one of the centers of renewed tensions in the West Bank amid an Israeli anti-terror offensive that has seen over 100 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 arrested in nightly raids.
The military launched the arrest operations after a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May. Israeli officials have also expressed concern that the PA is losing control of the security situation in the northern West Bank.
In the interview, Ramadan referenced his efforts to pacify the situation by getting gunmen to lay down their arms in exchange for guarantees that neither the PA nor Israel would pursue them, as well as a weapons buyback and offering them jobs with the PA’s security forces.
الناطق باسم حركة حـمــــــــاس، فوزي برهوم: "التصريحات التي تفوّه بها محافظ #نابلس إبراهيم رمضان، والتي تعرّض فيها بالإساءة المباشرة للمقاومة ولأمهات الشهداء، تصريحات مُدانة وغير مسؤولة، وخارجة عن الإطار الوطني والأخلاقي الذي يلتزم به شعبنا الصامد المجاهد". pic.twitter.com/xXj2UkI1cI
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) October 5, 2022
“I’ve sat down with them many times and there’s some major chemistry between us. They often listen to me. I promised they’d be protected, as far as that’s possible,” Ramadan said. Hamas has condemned Ramadan’s attempts at negotiation.
Channel 12 reported on Tuesday that the terrorists had turned down Ramadan’s offer.
Following the criticism, Ramadan later tried to distance himself from his remarks.
“Our Palestinian mothers are the most loving, the most consoling, the most protective of the blood and souls of their sons,” he wrote in a Facebook post.