The Palestinian Authority (PA) has launched a project to honor all Arabs who have died as so-called Shahids (Martyrs) killed while fighting the “infidel” since 1917 when the British Army liberated the Land of Israel from the Ottoman Empire.
The PA plans to plant 35,000 olive trees throughout the territories it controls with each tree named after a “Martyr.”
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which monitors PA incitement to terrorism, noted that this project is “the largest systematic PA project to honor terrorist murderers” that it has ever documented.
PMW explained that the PA defines all terrorists killed while attacking Israelis as “Martyrs.”
Terror promotion is prohibited by the Israeli Order for Security Provisions, and PMW has notified the relevant Israeli authorities of this “PA terror promotion program.”
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub, who is also Chairman of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, launched the project, titled “Alive and Provided For,” on behalf of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He told PA TV that ”these Martyrs are the most sacred thing we have.”
According to a report in the PA’s official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Rajoub noted that the goal of the project is to “immortalize the Martyrs,” and in addition to the trees, a monument will be erected and a marble slab placed detailing their names.
Hajj Ismail Jaber, a top advisor to Abbas, also praised the initiative, saying that it honors the Martyrs, which are the most precious thing Palestinians have. He further expressed a willingness to provide any aid required through the district governors to ensure the success of the project.
The initiative has also been welcomed by relatives of terrorists who have been killed.
The PA named the project “Alive and Provided For,” based on the Koranic verse “therefore, our Martyrs are alive with their Lord, and provided for.”
PMW explained that this “reflects the PA’s interpretation of Islam that all Palestinian terrorists who attack Israelis, all murderers of Israeli civilians – including suicide bombers – were fulfilling a religious obligation by killing or attempting to kill Israelis and Jews.”
“If the terrorist dies in the act, he or she receives the highest status in Islam possible: becoming a Shahid – a Martyr who died for Allah – and is rewarded with everlasting life with all needs ‘provided for’ by Allah himself,” PMW added.
Several PA institutions are involved in the initiative. The PA is explicitly targeting Palestinian youth with its messaging, as one of the places chosen for the trees to be planted is schoolyards. Scouts groups, school students and youth clubs have meanwhile been invited to participate.
Director-General of Youth Affairs at the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, Muhammad Sbeihat, explained that the intention is “not only to plant saplings, but also that they will be visible to our children, our students, our young men and women.”
“This focus underscores the PA’s policy of promoting terrorists as role models to Palestinian youth, urging them to die as Martyrs for Palestine,” PMW stressed.
PMW’s director Itamar Marcus commented that “the PA shows its greatest creative side when it comes to honoring murderers.”
“For years they have named schools streets and sporting events after terrorists and now they have added trees. A peace process will finally start only after the PA decides to redirect the energy and creativity it expends on promoting terror to promoting peace,” he said.