PA, Abbas Bless Rabbi's Murderers as 'Martyrs'
by Hana Levi Julian
Published: 12/30/09, 5:22 PM / Last Update: 12/30/09, 5:38 PM
(IsraelNN.com) Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas publicly proclaimed three terrorists who murdered a Jewish father of seven children to be "shaheeds" – holy martyrs, according to a report by the PA media watchdog, Palestinian Media Watch.
Abbas declared the killers – all members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades -- to be shaheeds and sent his personal emissary to visit their families following last Thursday's attack. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is part of the Fatah faction, which is headed by Abbas. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad personally visited the families, along with a number of top PA officials, and condemned the IDF operation.
Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, a 40-year-old Israeli resident of the Samaria Jewish community of Shavei Shomron, was murdered in a hail of bullets fired by four terrorists in car that overtook him as he drove home from a nearby community. On Friday night, IDF soldiers tracked down three of the terrorists and killed them after they opened fire during an attempt to arrest them. The fourth surrendered to PA police, who have not turned him over to Israeli authorities.
The response of the PA government has been one of unequivocal support for the terror attack, with statements by its leadership and that of the Fatah faction referring to the terrorists as Palestinian heroes and shahids. One member of the faction's central committee described the terrorists as "[military] commanders, brave heroes, and fighters," according to a news report in the daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida translated by PMW.
PA government-controlled media, meanwhile, has described Israel's killing of the rabbi's murderers as an "assassination" and "murder in cold blood."
Abbas: 'Not Me - Won't Turn to Violence'
Abbas claimed in an English-language interview posted this week on the Palestine Media Center web site, and clearly intended for international readership, that he is opposed to violence and terrorism, regardless of circumstance. The PMC is the media outlet and "general secretariat" for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which Fatah is a member.
The statement was made in response to a question regarding his views on whether the PA would agree to a single-state solution or insist on the establishment of an independent PA country, as stated in the Road Map plan.
"I will not turn to violence," he replied. "No matter where you drag us, I will not return to violence."
"And if violence forces itself upon you?" he was asked.
"Not me. I am against this," he claimed. "I will not accept violence, terrorism, gunfire or a military intifada. Absolutely not."
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