Senior Palestinian Official Honors Murderers


Dr. Laila GhannamBy Benyamin Korn

Germany, Switzerland, and Holland last week issued another harsh denunciation of Israel — just three days after a Palestinian Authority leader publicly honored terrorists who murdered German, Swiss, and Dutch citizens.

This latest illustration of craven European hypocrisy began on July 17, when the District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh, Dr. Laila Ghannam, celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr by laying wreaths at the graves of the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the 1975 Savoy Hotel attack, whose victims included a number of Europeans.

Ramallah is the capital of the Palestinian Authority, so Dr. Ghannam is no minor figure. She’s the approximate equivalent of the mayor of Washington, D.C. and the governor of Virginia, combined.

On her “Friends of Laila Ghannam” Facebook page, Ghannam boasted about how she honored the “martyrs of the Savoy operation” and “recited [the Koranic section of] Al-Fatiha for their pure souls.”

That “operation” consisted of Abu Jihad’s PLO terrorists landing by boat at a Tel Aviv beach, storming a hotel, taking civilians hostage, and then murdering eight of them during the Israeli rescue operation.

Among the victims were Swiss citizens Maria Krahenbel and Anders Lamron, German citizen Hans Gassen, and 15 year-old Asher Feldman, a citizen of Holland. His father, Karol, was seriously wounded.

One might think that the German, Swiss, and Dutch governments would be outraged at a PA official honoring a terrorist murderer of their own citizens. You might think they would demand a public apology, or even threaten to reduce their annual aid to the Palestinian Authority. But, no. They were completely silent.

Instead they suddenly found their voices, three days later, when an opportunity arose to condemn Israel. Together with their EU partners, these governments issued a statement loaded with all the usual finger-wagging and name-calling, accusing Israel of “evictions,” “confiscations,” “demolitions,” “restrictions,” and “forced transfer of population.” The statement also demanded that Israel drop all restrictions on the import of materials into Gaza–meaning that materials for terrorist purposes would be allowed; and called for the immediate creation of a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria–meaning a duplication of the terror nightmare of Gaza. All this in the name of “peace”! Oh yes, and Jerusalem should be made the capital of “Palestine,” the EU added.

Perhaps we should not be surprised. As Palestinian Media Watch points out, this is not the first time that the PA has publicly praised the Savoy Hotel murderers of German, Swiss, and Dutch citizens.

This past February 17, the main Facebook page of Fatah — the main PLO faction, which is headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas — praised the Savoy killer as “Fatah’s heroic self-sacrificing fighters.” And a month before that, Fatah’s Facebook page featured photos of the individual Savoy terrorists (posing with guns), flanked by descriptions of them as “heroes” and “martyrs.”

In fact, when Israel transferred the bodies of the Savoy terrorists to the PA as a goodwill gesture in 2012, the Ramallah Municipality quickly allocated funds to build a “Mausoleum for Martyrs of the Savoy Operations” –which is where Governor Ghannam brought her wreaths last week.

But there are no memorials for Maria Krahenbel, Anders Lamron, Hans Gassen, or Asher Feldman. Their governments are too craven to address real terrorism and would rather make baseless accusations against Israel, the true protector in this troubled region of the moral values Europeans hold dear.

Or do they?

Mr. Korn, the former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune, is chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists.