Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What to do about Ramallah

A comment about the recent insult suffered by a NYC Councilman

We all share the outrage of New York City Councilman David Greenfield at being asked by U.S. diplomats to remove his yarmulke during a visit to Ramallah on Sunday.

Greenfield and other City Council members were in Israel on a solidarity mission sponsored by a major New York Jewish organization.

Perhaps it’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah – but not just because of the yarmulke incident.

Four years ago, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Palestinian Authority established a Dalal Mughrabi Square in the center of Ramallah, which is the PA’s capital city.

Every New York City Councilman, and every New York-based Jewish organization, should be thoroughly familiar with the late Dalal Mughrabi, since she was the leader of one of the most notorious Palestinian terrorist attacks in which a New Yorker was murdered.

On March 9, 1978, Mughrabi led a squad of 13 Palestinian terrorists who set out from Lebanon towards Israel, in small boats. They were members of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. At the time, Mahmoud Abbas – today the chairman of the Palestinian Authority – was the PLO’s second in command.

The terrorists landed on a northern Israeli beach, where Gail Rubin, a Jewish nature photographer from Manhattan, was taking photos of rare birds. Her work had been exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City and other prominent venues. She also happened to be the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, was later interviewed by the Lebanese Television station Al-Manar and recalled what happened:

“Sister Dalal al-Mughrabi had a conversation with the American journalist. Before killing her, Dalal asked: ‘How did you enter Palestine?’ [Rubin] answered: ‘They gave me a visa.’ Dalal said: ‘Did you get your visa from me, or from Israel? I have the right to this land. Why didn’t you come to me?’ Then Dalal opened fire on her.”

Mughrabi, Fayadh, and their 11 fellow gangsters then walked over to the nearby Coastal Road and hijacked an Israeli bus. During the course of the attack they murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi herself was killed by Israeli troops.

Fayadh survived, was sentenced to life in jail, but then released in a prisoner exchange. In 2013, he was hired as an adviser to PA chairman Abbas. (Meaning that he is paid, at least in part, from the $500 million the U.S. government sends Abbas each year.)

The Dalal Mughrabi Park in Ramallah is just one of the many ways in which the Palestinian Authority glorifies Gail Rubin’s murderer. The PA has sports tournaments and summer camps named after her. Official PA Television frequently broadcasts programs depicting Mughrabi as a hero and martyr.

Earlier this year, Abbas’s Fatah organized a public celebration of Mughrabi’s birthday. The event was broadcast on Fatah’s Al-Awdah TV. Students participating in the celebration were interviewed for the program. One of them said this of the killer: “She is our role model, an example for every Palestinian young woman. Dalal did everything we dream of doing.”

A second student declared: “Dalal Mughrabi is inspiring. She inspires us and gives us the strength to complete the journey after her.”

The director of a PA government agency, the Palestinian Poets and Writers Association, chimed in that Mughrabi is “the Purple Gazelle, the Flower of the Land.” (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

I do not know what moved a prominent New York Jewish organization to sponsor a trip that included a visit to Ramallah. Gail Rubin’s memory deserves better. Here are a few ways in which Gail might be honored:

* New York’s Jewish organizations should announce they will not sponsor any visits to Ramallah until the name of Dalal Mughrabi Park is changed to Gail Rubin Park.

* Jewish leaders should pledge to refrain from meeting with Mahmoud Abbas until he fires Hussain Fayadh, the accomplice to Gail’s murder.

* Councilman Greenfield and his colleagues on the New York City Council should name the block that includes 115 East 65th Street in Manhattan “Honorary Gail Rubin Place.” That’s where the “State of Palestine Observer Mission to the United Nations” is situated.

Well, that's what I think.

You can read this on-line here.

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