On July 4, 1975, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, a booby-trapped refrigerator exploded, killing 15 people and wounding 77.
The perpetrators were two Palestinians from the West Bank, one of whom escaped to Jordan. The other, Ahmad Jabara — nom de guerre of Abu Sukkar — was eventually apprehended, tried by an Israeli military court, and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2003, under pressure from the Bush administration to make a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority, Israel freed Sukkar, then 70, along with 99 other security prisoners.
Yasser Arafat, then head of the PA, showed his appreciation for Israel’s gesture by appointing the mass-murdering Sukkar as a special adviser. Since Sukkar’s death on July 16, 2013, more honors have been heaped on the “refrigerator bomber” than almost any of us could ever hope for.
A day after Sukkar’s death, he was given an official military funeral during which Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas eulogized him as a “righteous son and loyal fighter.” A month later, a horse race was named after him. And a month after that, the PA held a memorial for him, including the showing of a film about him in which an official said:
He will remain in our minds and veins. His memory and his good and wonderful deeds for this nation and for this nation’s cause will always remain an example for us to emulate.
The lionization of this indiscriminate murderer rolls on. A few days ago, at a ceremony attended by top PA officials, the PA unveiled a statue of him.
One of the officials called Sukkar’s death “a loss for everyone who protects human rights”; another called him “a real man, a fighter, and … a school for giving, resolve, and courage.”
To repeat, Sukkar’s sole “distinction” was the murder of 15 people and maiming of many others.
There are, of course, monuments in the world to other mass murderers, but they were national leaders like Stalin and Lenin. Erecting a statue for an individual terrorist — a minor one, at that — appears to be another Palestinian innovation.
If not the actual innovators, it was the Palestinians who gave a huge boost to airplane hijackings and suicide bombings. Now, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that a terror aficionado is lauding the Palestinians for their innovative contributions in the field of slaughtering innocents:
Following the truck attack in Nice, France on the night of July 14, 2016, ISIS supporters online expressed joy, congratulated the perpetrators, and stressed that the attack came in retaliation for airstrikes by coalition jets, including ones from France, in Syria and Iraq, which killed innocent Muslims. ISIS sympathizers on Telegram also posted banners lauding the attack and vowing that members of the Islamic State would continue to strike France and the West.
One of these ISIS supporters specifically “hailed the Palestinians for inventing the tactic of using trucks and cars in ramming attacks”:
Killing by ramming using civilian cars and trucks is an idea born from the Maqdisi [Palestinian] mind, which has an innovative nature of thinking up jihad tactics. Yesterday they taught us [about] the explosive vest, and many plans for street fighting, and today they taught us this tactic. May Allah bless Jerusalem and the environs of Jerusalem.
Just since last September, Palestinians have mounted 46 vehicle-ramming attacks (among many others). Though they may not have been the originators of the tactic, they have used it far more than any other group and may well have provided the inspiration for the Nice attack, which killed 84.
Some of us have long maintained that — while the political disposition of the Palestinians in the West Bank is an issue that will eventually need to be solved — there can be no solution as long as Palestinians make barbarism and hatred the lodestar of their collective life.
For some — like François Hollande, or the American Jewish activist Peter Beinart — the anxiety to turn the Palestinians into a full-fledged, independent identity as rapidly as possible appears to be incorrigible. Others would do well to contemplate, among other things, the PA’s dedication of a statue to the “hero” Abu Sukkar.