No Apology Necessary

Melanie Phillips:

The New York Times reports that the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have dedicated a public square to the memory of a woman who in 1978 helped carry out the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history:

The woman being honored, Dalal Mughrabi, was the 19-year-old leader of a Palestinian squad that sailed from Lebanon and landed on a beach between Haifa and Tel Aviv. They killed an American photojournalist, hijacked a bus and commandeered another, embarking on a bloody rampage that left 38 Israeli civilians dead, 13 of them children, according to official Israeli figures. Ms. Mughrabi and several other attackers were killed.

To Israelis, hailing Ms. Mughrabi as a heroine and a martyr is an act that glorifies terrorism. But, underscoring the chasm between Israeli and Palestinian perceptions, the Fatah representatives described Ms. Mughrabi as a courageous fighter who held a proud place in Palestinian history. Defiant, they insisted that they would not let Israel dictate the names of Palestinian streets and squares.

‘We are all Dalal Mughrabi,’ declared Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, the party’s main decision-making body, who came to join the students. ‘For us she is not a terrorist’, he said, but rather ‘a fighter who fought for the liberation of her own land.’

Note in particular the last three words. This man is talking about Israel: not the West Bank, not Gaza, but Israel. It was, of course, not her land and never was, not at any time throughout history; nor were the West Bank or Gaza. The only people for whom this ever constituted their national homeland were the Jews. But it is that land, Israel, a state that was actually established by international agreement, that Fatah wants. In other words, it wants Israel destroyed: and that is the one and only cause of this conflict. This is not a boundary dispute. Fatah wants Israel destroyed – as its leaders have said over and over again down the years.

And she makes clear Israel has nothing for which to apologize:

…The key point is that there was actually nothing to apologise for, since it was explicitly agreed between America and Israel that, as a concession to kick-start peace negotiations, Israel would stop building in the West Bank although it would continue to build in east Jerusalem. Indeed, Hillary Clinton herself, no less, praised Israel for this agreement.

America has thus effectively unilaterally repudiated that agreement. In other words, this whole uproar has been artificially manufactured by America to produce a crisis with Israel – while refusing, astonishingly, to condemn the Palestinians at all for their refusal to enter peace talks, their honouring of one of their worst terrorists by naming a square after her, their violent attacks on the Temple Mount in recent days, and so on…

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