The New York Times in 2006 called her “the mother of three Hamas supporters killed by Israelis.” This was a highly tendentious appellation, as the Times report itself made clear when it said that “she bade one son goodbye in a homemade videotape before he stormed an Israeli settlement, killing five people, then being shot dead. She said later, in a much-publicized quotation, that she wished she had 100 sons to sacrifice that way. Known as the ‘mother of martyrs,’ she was seen in a campaign video toting a gun.”
Umm Nidal’s oldest son Nidal was killed in 2003, and his brother Rawad in 2005 — both as they were involved in jihad actions against Israelis. Muhammad Farhat was the first of her sons to die. In June 2002 he stormed the Atzmona settlement in Israel, firing indiscriminately, murdering five teenagers and wounding twenty others before he himself was killed.
Umm Nidal cried out “Allahu Akbar” when she learned of Muhammad’s murders and his own death; she “prepared boxes of halva and chocolates, and handed them out to his friends.” To those who would reproach her for being heartless, she responded:
We cannot stop sacrificing just because we feel pain. What is the meaning of sacrifice? One sacrifices what is precious, not what is of little value. My children are the most precious thing in my life. That is why I sacrificed them for a greater cause — for Allah, who is more precious than them. My son is not more precious than his God, he is not more precious than the places holy to Islam, and he is not more precious than his homeland or his Islam. Not at all.