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Nazih Khatatba. Photo: CIJnews

Canadian editor implies: murder of a 4 year old Israeli girl is a “courageous operation”

Dr. Nazih Khatatba, the editor of Meshwar newspaper and a board member of the Mississauga-based Palestine House, praises the Lebanese terrorist Samir Quntar for his “bold offensive operation” during which he murdered an Israeli civilian and smashed the head of his 4 year-old daughter on beach rocks and crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle.

At the age of 16, Quntar, then a member of the Palestine Liberation Front, infiltrated with three other fellow terrorists into Israel, participated in the killing of an Israeli policeman and attempted kidnapping of an Israeli family in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of four Israelis. After being released in 2008 from the Israeli jail as part of Israel–Hezbollah prisoner swap, Quntar joined the ranks the Lebanese terrorist Shiite Hezbollah organization and worked for building up Hezbollah’s terrorist infrastructure against Israel in the Golan Heights. On December 19, 2015, Quntar was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the outskirts of Damascus, Syria.

In his editorial on Meshwar (Issue 146, December 24, 2015, p. 6) Khatataba, a former senior official of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Culture, slams those (apparently Sunni Muslims) who gloated over the killing of Samir Quntar by the Israeli airstrike because of his affiliation with the Shiite Hezbollah, a close ally of the Assad regime, and the Lebanese arm of Shiite Iran.

Khatataba praises Quntar for the active role he took in the armed struggle against Israel, portraying Quntar’s terrorist attack in the City of Nahariya in 1979 as a “bold offensive operation against the occupation forces.”

He maintains that Quntar’s decision to join the ranks of Hezbollah should not be condemned as he intended to “continue the armed struggle” against Israel and “started working for establishing a movement that will fight for the liberation of the occupied Golan Heights as a prelude for liberating all Palestine.”

Khatataba wrote, “Dear Sirs, tell us what is wrong about it [Quntar decision to join Hezbollah for continuing the armed struggle against Israel]? If such a man sacrificed his period of adolescence and later his life for fighting the Israeli occupation, for the sake of the holy sites of the [Islamic] nation and faith and was developing plans for fighting [is not considered a fighter], who is [eligible] to be deemed a fighter, and who is [eligible] to be considered martyr!!!!…”

Dear Sirs, Dear distinguished people, no. Samir Quntar does not need from you to give him the eligibility for martyrdom, honour and patriotism, as he did not change and remained eager to become a martyr for the sake of Palestine. His compass did not deviate from Palestine and from regarding Israel as the prime and the only enemy of the Palestinians and Arabs and as a constant threat to the future of their countries. Anyone who fights the Israeli occupation is a martyr who is eligible for this title regardless his nationality, ideology, religion or faith.”

Khatatba has recently participated in a demonstration in Toronto in support of the Palestinian intifada (October 16, 2015) and advised al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah movement, to change their policy and instead of uttering threats at Israel, to demand from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President and the leader of the PLO and Fatah movement, to re-arm them. The following is Khatatba’s posting (originally in Arabic):

“Al-Aqsa Brigades [the military wing of Fatah movement lead by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] declared a general mobilization and warned the [Israeli] Occupation of attacking the President [Abbas]!!!!

“O brother, take him [Abbas] and keep him for yourself. I swear by Allah, do not be afraid as he [Abbas] under Israeli protection. Most importantly, ask him [Abbas] to return the weapons he took from you [al-Aqsa Brigades], and to instruct the operatives of the security forces that under his control not to arrest you.”

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade (AAMB) was designated in 2003 by Canada as a terrorist organization and its status was reaffirmed in November 2014.

Nazih Khatatba sympathizes with the Palestinian “struggle” which includes activities and operations that are deemed by Israel, US, Canada and the West as acts of terrorism.

In his editorial on Meshwar entitled “al-Quds Operation and the Quiet Intifada”, (Issue 118, November 28, 2014, page 5) Khatatba portrayed the massacre of 4 rabbis in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists who killed their victims with meat cleavers as a “courageous and qualitative” operation. The fifth fatality of the attack is Howie Rothman, an Israeli Canadian, was died of his wounds a year after he was struck in his head and neck with a cleaver.

On the same day the Jerusalem massacre occurred, Khatatba harshly criticized the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, for issuing an official announcement condemning (however faintly) the attack.

A few days prior to the Jerusalem massacre, Khatatba justified the ‘run-over’ and stabbing attacks against Israeli Jews and overtly supported launching a Palestinian armed Intifada (war) against Israel.

In a editorial (Meshwar, Issue 106, June 13, 2014, P. 5), Khatatba called the Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jail “freedom prisoners” and “freedom fighters”, even though many of them were convicted (and confessed) of terror-related crimes, including murder of civilians.

For one of his editorials (Meshwar, Issue 103, May 2, 2014, p. 5), Khatatba chose the following heading: “Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and [the City of] al-Quds [Jerusalem] are in need for mujahideen [jihad fighters], not tourists.”

In his editorial (Meshwar, Issue 85, August 23, 2013, page 5), Khatatba criticized Hamas for abandoning the confrontation with Israel. “We sided with Hamas and defended it to the point that we in Meshwar newspaper were during the last war on Gaza subject to a campaign and pressure of the Canadian Jewish organizations [apparently referring to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs – CIJA] because of this position,” wrote Khatatba.

We were not deterred as Hamas was confronting Israel, not [meaning we took this position] because of the blackness of its eyes or its extremist practices. We placed the confrontation with Israel above any other consideration. We ignored everything for the sake of this confrontation. However, the situation has changed, as Hamas is not anymore interested in [confronting] Israel… Hamas has to deal with its destiny by its own and we will not sympathize with it.”

In a previous op-ed (Meshwar, Issue 66, November 30, 2012, page 8), Khatatba expressed his support of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations that took part in a war with Israel, during which thousands of rockets and mortar shells were launched from the Gaza strip toward Israeli communities.

It is essential to add this achievement (note: the article was published prior to the UN recognition of Palestine as a non member observer state) to the triumph that the resistance in Gaza has achieved due to its firm endurance and launching of hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities. These rockets dented Israel’s deterrence and created a new reality, that no one can deny, principally the Palestinian leadership, of the role of the popular and military resistance to improve the conditions in any future negotiations with Israel,” Khatatba wrote.

The unyielding fortitude and victory that Gaza achieved would not have materialized without the unconstrained help of Iran, Syria and Hizballah, who provided weaponry, rockets, training and financing… The Palestinian resistance should speak out loud and clear and not be afraid to express gratitude to Iran, Syria and Hizballah…”

Meshwar newspaper published (Issue 53, June 1, 2012, p. 32) a poem portraing five Palestinian terrorists, one of them a suicide bomber, as “heroes.”

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About Jonathan D. Halevi

Jonathan D. Halevi
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

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