The future Palestinian Authority (PA) presidential compound in Ramallah will be built along a street named after Hamas terrorist Yihyeh Ayyash, Israeli news sources reported Wednesday. Ayyash, also known as the “engineer,” was the architect of multiple terrorist attacks in Israel, including a 1994 bombing of a Tel Aviv bus, which killed 20 people and injured dozens. According to reports, a sign erected on the street reads: “Yihyeh Ayyash, 1966-1996, born in Nablus, studied electrical engineering in Bir Zeit University. Was a member of the Iz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was linked by Israel to a number of bombings. Was assassinated by Israel in his Beit Lahia (Gaza Strip) home in 5.1.1996.” Ayyash was killed when his cell phone exploded in his Gaza Strip home.
“This is an outrageous glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority,” read a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released Wednesday night. “Right next to a presidential compound in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority has named a street after a terrorist who murdered hundreds of innocent Israeli men, women and children. The world must forcefully condemn this official Palestinian incitement for terrorism and against peace.” The U.S. has condemned the dedication.
But this isn’t the first time the PA has named streets after terrorists. Last month, officials in the Ramallah suburb of el-Bireh were set to dedicate a square to Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of her attack. On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi and a squad of militants seized two Israeli buses and went on a rampage that killed 37 Israelis, including 13 children. Mughrabi’s act remains the deadliest militant attack in Israeli history. The ceremony to honor her, which was set to take place during a visit to the region by Vice President Joe Biden, was canceled under Israeli and American pressure. Still, a group of Fatah activists held an unofficial dedication, and Palestinian officials pledge to hold a formal ceremony in the future.
In the spring 2010 issue of inFOCUS, Jonathan S. Tobin highlights the previously unmatched significance that President Obama has placed on freezing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. As he says, “While successive American presidential administrations desired a halt to Israel’s settlement activity as a matter of official U.S. policy, there was a clear difference in the Obama administration’s approach. He sought to make the issue of a settlement freeze a precondition for resuming negotiations – something the Palestinians had previously never demanded.”
Indeed, in doing so, the president has showed that he believes settlements, and not Palestinian terrorism or incitement, is the main obstacle to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. That the PA – the supposedly more moderate Palestinian faction – continues to glorify Palestinian terrorists should be a signal to the President. As Tobin concludes, “rather than enhancing the chances for peace, Obama’s tactics have instead raised the possibility that 2010 may bring an increase in violence and further instability to the region.”