March brings a global focus on women’s rights and issues. The media, United Nations and business community consider important issues like “women empowerment” and ways of putting women in leadership positions. Not only would women have an immediate positive impact by imparting new perspectives on issues but would further act as role models for young women.
It is therefore worth reviewing one of the United Nations and liberals favorite locales, the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories and their choices for female role models.
The Palestinian Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) is based in Ramallah, down the road from the headquarters of the PA. Its stated mission and goals are to empower women, to develop their skills and competencies and erase stereotypes about women’s roles in society. On the surface, these seem like noble goals, until one applies the “competencies” to the murder of children.
On May 15, 2017, the WATC helped open a new women’s center in the Samarian town of Burqa, near Nablus. They opted to name the center the Dalal al-Mugrahbi Women’s Center, named for a terrorist who killed 37 Israeli civilians, a niece of a U.S. senator, and included 13 children in the infamous Coastal Road Massacre in 1978.
It was reported that at the center’s inauguration ceremony, Rim Haja, a member of the Burqa village council, said the center would focus on the history of the struggle of the shaheed (martyr) Dalal al-Mughrabi and on presenting her “heritage” to youth groups. She added that naming the center for Dalal al-Mughrabi led the way for other “enrichment activities” dealing with the history of the Palestinian “struggle.”
When news of naming the square after a terrorist got out, various sponsors began to withdraw their support, including the government of Norway and the United Nations which said it “disassociated itself from the Center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future.”
The head of the official PA-owned news outlet Wafa, Sami Daghlas said that “the center has no intention of caving in to the pressure and changing its name,” and will continue on its mission “to serve and empower young women in the village and to help them develop them to become active members in society.” The question is of course, “active” in what way?
Over the following months, additional agencies and governments withdrew their funding support. When the European Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, a joint donor program sponsored by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, pulled support from the WATC for its support in the center, Samia Bamya, the chairperson of WATC issued a statement:
“Despite the damage resulting from the cessation of funding, we will never make concessions as far as our principles and national and community role are concerned for the sake of receiving conditional funding.”
Amira Haroun, the undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs added her own thoughts to the defunding of the WATC stating:
“All of the women institutions working in the Palestinian territories are acting in accordance with Palestinian national strategies that support the Palestinian cause and preserve the history of our struggling people. Therefore, any foreign funding that does not go in tandem with these objectives is refused… Claims whereby reviving the names of our fighters by naming Palestinian centers, squares and streets after them fall under the category of incitement to violence. They are false claims and a distortion of the truth. Israel is the one inciting countries against us and killing our people continuously.”
The Palestinians continued to dig in and celebrate the murder of a dozen children riding on a bus.
In March 2019, the PA arranged the Dalal Mugrahbi Sports Festival. The District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Dr. Laila Ghannam spoke at the event, stating that Palestinian children “are determined to continue on the path.” Ghannam also praised Palestinian women for having “brought children into the world, fought, and built glory that will not be erased.”
In March 2020 the PA daily wrote “Dalal decided to join the ranks of the Palestinian revolution and to act in the ranks of the self-sacrificing fighters in the Fatah Movement while still a student…. she became known for her daring, her courage, her well-developed national sentiment, and for her devotion to Palestine and Fatah.“
This year, the Fatah (political party of PA President Mahmoud Abbas) website wrote on the anniversary of her death, “The martyr Dalal al-Maghribi is one of the most famous Palestinian activists… Dalal and her band succeeded in reaching Tel Aviv and seized the bus with all of its soldiers…. this operation resulted resulted in hundreds dead and wounded on the Israeli side… lots of schools and squares in Palestine were named for this heroin[e].”
While the PA was extolling the virtues of this female terrorist, the UN was convening a Commission on the Status of Women where the “priority theme is women’s full and effective participation and decision‑making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” The UN has said nothing about the Palestinian continued incitement to violence marketed to young girls.
It is part of an ongoing travesty that Palestinians name schools and camps after the killers of children (the PA is actually changing history and stating that she only killed soldiers) and teach the youth to emulate murderers. Using terrorists as role models is a crime against humanity.
While much of the world seeks to empower young women to achieve equality in education, career opportunities and freedom, the Palestinians seek to empower their young women to become murderers of Israeli children.
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