A study in mideast morality....
The Palestinians do this all the time...
If the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has its way, Dalal Mughrabi will be adopted as a role model by every girl in the Palestinian territories. Allegedly moderate, the PA administration in the West Bank has so convincingly abandoned terrorism that the always optimistic Americans have spent a fortune training its police force. But the PA’s chosen heroine, Dalal Mughrabi, was a murderer. She led the worst terrorist attack on civilians in the history of Israel.
The difference between what the PA preaches and the martyrs it honours throws a curious light on the recent argument between Washington and the Israeli government. The Israelis bungled when they announced the next stage in a housing project, built on land the Palestinians claim, while Vice-President Joe Biden was in Jerusalem. Biden and the Obama government took it as proof that Israel’s attitude to “the peace process” is less than sincere.
At almost exactly the same moment, the other partner in what may someday become a peace treaty, was planning fresh acclaim for the crimes of Mughrabi.
In 1978, she was a 19-year-old Palestine Liberation Order member with a talent for leadership. The PLO opposed an Egypt-Israel treaty that was then in the works, because it could enhance Israel’s legitimacy. They assigned Mughrabi to make an attack so sensational it would create chaos and bitterness in Israel.
On March 11, 1978, she headed a PLO squad of 11 who set out from Lebanon and arrived on the coastal plain near Tel Aviv in dinghies. The first person they met was an American photographer of some reputation, Gail Rubin, who was taking pictures of rare birds on the beach. They talked to her, then murdered her. On the Coastal Road, they fired at passing cars, hijacked a taxi, killed its occupants, seized two buses and put all the occupants together in one bus, a total of 71 passengers.
They drove toward Tel Aviv until police stopped them. A nine-hour gun battle followed. Mughrabi set fire to the bus. A total of 39 people died (including Mughrabi) and 72 were wounded.
In Israel’s history, this is now called the Coastal Road Massacre. For the PA’s leaders, it’s a cause for continuing celebration.
Like many PLO adventures, it failed; the Israel-Egypt peace treaty was signed a year later in Washington, after the Camp David Accords. But that doesn’t in the least diminish Mughrabi’s reputation. Palestinian Media Watch has noted that in the last two years the Palestinians have named a computer centre, two high schools for girls, two summer camps and a soccer championship after Mughrabi.
This year they have named a square “the Shahida [Martyr] Dalal Mughrabi Square” near Ramallah on the West Bank. In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented: “This is not how peace is made.” Palestinian leaders went ahead with plans to dedicate the square on March 11, the 32nd anniversary of the killings.
When they realized that Joe Biden was to be in Jerusalem that day, they postponed it, but as soon as he left the ceremony was held. A Palestinian leader was there to announce “We are all Dalal Mughrabi.”