The Palestinian Authority is dismissing criticism of its decision to name a Ramallah street after notorious Hamas bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash as "absurd."
In fact, the reverse is true: So honoring the terrorist is absurd.
The unbelievable defense of the insensitive move came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the street labeling, saying: "This is an outrageous glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority. 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."
Ayyash, known as "The Engineer," was a Hamas arch-terrorist and chief bomb-maker. He orchestrated the suicide bombing campaign that killed dozens of Israeli civilians from 1994-1996. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have waged a brutal and bloody power struggle for nearly four years, but that did not stop the authority from glorifying a Hamas icon.
The Palestinian Authority response to Netanyahu compared the street naming to places in Israel named after the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for the historic Camp David peace treaty.
The move would be akin to an American town naming a main thoroughfare after Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. There was outrage when Jewish settlers erected a monument to Baruch Goldstein, who was killed after slaughtering 29 Muslims in a mosque in 1994. Israel razed the shrine in 1999 after legislation banned monuments to terrorists.
The Ayyash naming marks the second time in recent months that the Palestinian Authority glorified a terrorist. In January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas defended the naming of a square after Dalal Mughrabi, a young terrorist who hijacked a bus and killed 37 in 1978. Abbas' culture minister, Siham Barghouti of the Fatah party, also defended the move, stating: "Honoring them [the martyrs] this way is the least we can give them, and this is our right."
Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus described the effect of such provocation with little U.S. reaction, saying: "When Hamas is condemned for the terror glorification while it is Abbas and the PA who are guilty, the message to the Palestinian leadership is that they can continue with their incitement to hatred and violence, and no one will call them to account. This message to the Palestinian Authority from the United States, if not immediately rectified, will have devastating implications for peace."
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