Arafat's Fatah Names Summer Camp after Teen Suicide Bomber

Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13pm EDT
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Jerusalem ( - Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction has honored a 17-year-old female suicide bomber for the second year in a row by naming a children's summer camp after her, the Palestinian Media Watch reported on Friday.

Ayyat al-Akhras, the youngest suicide bomber at the time, killed two Israelis when she blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket in March 2002.

In the eastern Gaza Strip, the youth wing of Fatah organized the camp, called Ayyat al-Akhras, for 150 children aged nine to 15.

The phenomenon of naming camps, schools and sporting events after terrorists is not new. But PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has undertaken to put an end to incitement to violence.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) director Itamar Marcus said that memorializing terrorists in this way encourages children to emulate them.

"This naming of a children's summer camp for a teenage terrorist is particularity problematic as it is quite natural for children to see another child being honored as a role model," Marcus said in a statement. PMW is an independent Israeli watchdog organization that monitors the Palestinian press.

The Arabic-language, PA-run newspaper Al Quds on Thursday mentioned a graduation ceremony at the camp attended by a PA deputy minister.

"Dr. Ahmad al-Yazji, PA deputy minister of youth and sports, attended a graduation ceremony of a summer camp named after the Shahida [a woman who died for Allah] Ayyat Al Akhras," Al-Quds reported.

"Al-Yazji stressed the role of the struggle fulfilled by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement 'Fatah' and saluted the Shahids [martyrs], the wounded and the prisoners," it added.

PMW charged that naming the summer camp after al-Akhras represented a continuation of "the PA policy of naming summer camps, sporting events and schools after prominent terrorists."

Last year it was revealed that funds from the United States Agency for International Development were going to be used to renovate a high school named after a Palestinian terrorist, Dalal Mugrabi, who participated in a bus hijacking in 1978. That attack killed 36 Israelis and an America nature photographer, Gail Ruban.

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