Emergency workers were greeted with the sight of 22 people already dead in the Passover bombing
Photo by Reuters

The PA daily al-Hayat reports on Palestinian Minister Karake’s award of celebratory plaque to the family of Hamas terrorist Abbas al-Sayed. This is the photo that was in Al-Hayat (28 March 2011)

Read What The Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Switzerland’s Special Ambassador to the Middle East Told the Winnipeg Jewish Review

At the end of March, as this year’s Passover holiday was approaching, the Palestinian Authority honored the terrorist mastermind responsible for the ‘Passover Massacre’ which claimed the lives of 30 innocent Israeli citizens attending the traditional Passover meal at Netanya’s Park Hotel on March 27, 2002.

During this incident, mostly elderly, people were killed and dozens maimed and injured when a suicide bomber, Abdel-Basset Odeh, who was dispatched by terrorist mastermind Abbas Al-Sayed walked into the Park Hotel on the Netanya seafront in the middle of a Passover Seder, a religious ceremony celebrating the Israelites’ freedom from bondage in ancient Egypt.

The suicide bomber, Abdel-Basset Odeh, from a Hamas terror cell in Tulkarm, detonated a large device packed with explosives and shards of metal. Evidence revealed that Al-Sayed was involved in planning the Park Hotel bombing down to the minutest details, from checking the bomber’s explosives belt to helping him write his will and making a video of him reading it.

“The Palestinian Authority has chosen a bizarre and troubling way to mark the upcoming Jewish festival of Passover. Despite an often voiced Palestinian commitment to end the glorification of terrorists and incitement to violence, on March 28 Issa Karake, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, visited the family of Hamas suicide-bomb mastermind Abbas Al-Sayed, awarding them with an official, festive plaque, in celebration of the anniversary of the massacre,” the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its website.

This incident was reported in a Palestinian daily newspaper- Al Hayat, a copy of which can be found in its entirety on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The Al-Hayat report includes a photo of the PA Minister of Prison Affairs with Al Sayad’s family presenting them a plaque.

“This honor is not the only example of official Palestinian glorification of violence. In recent weeks, the Palestinian leadership named a youth soccer competition in Ramallah after Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber. Similarly, they named a square in El Bireh, as well as two schools and a summer camp, in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, commander of the March 11, 1978 massacre of 38 bus passengers on Israel’s coastal road,” the Israeli Foreign Affairs website said.

Since Canada has invested money in the Palestinian justice system, The Winnipeg Jewish Review emailed both the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian International Development Agency on April 11, 2011 with the following questions:

1. Since The Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] is supporting the development of the Justice System in the Palestinian Authority financially, will CIDA be making a statement condemning the awarding of a plaque by the PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs to a terrorist on the anniversary of his Passover massacre?

2.Has CIDA made known or will it make known its displeasure of what the PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs has done to honour the terrorist of the Massacre ?

3.If not, what does CIDA intend to do about this incident?

4.Has the Canadian Representative based in Ramallah made any statement about this? Will he be doing so?

5.How much money has Canada delivered to the PA in 2011 for the development of the PA Justice system?

On April 13, 2011, Emily Milroy media spokesperson CIDA sent the following response:

“Thank you for your request. Questions 1 – 4 would better be answered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Media Relations Office, they can be reached at or 613-995-1874

Question 5 – please find below the 2009/10 CIDA disbursements for the development of the Palestinian Authority justice system:

Support to the Palestinian Prosecution (Sharaka) – $2,858,389
Access to Justice – $3,500,000
Judicial Independence and Human Dignity (Karameh) – $375,637
Courthouse construction – $89,871
Forensic Services Assistance Project – $157,294

Total: $6,981,191”

On Thursday April 14, after sending a second request to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Winnipeg Jewish Review received a response form spokesperson Lisa Monette who said she hoped ‘to have a response within a few hours.” Later that same day, Monette emailed to say “I will need to consult our embassy overseas before responding to your request. I will do so overnight and will be back in touch tomorrow. I apologize for the delay.”

On Monday April 18 we received a response from a different spokesperson Claude Rochon “This is to let you know that I will be following-up on your request for my colleague Lisa. I would like to thank you very much for your patience and assure you that we are still looking into this matter.’

On April 20, 2011 Rochon sent an email saying the following:

“We are unable to confirm the specifics of the meeting. [between the PA Minister of Prison Affairs and the family of the terrorist mastermind]

“However, the Government of Canada stands firmly opposed to terrorism and strongly denounces any and all efforts to glorify terrorists and their deplorable actions.”

On April 13, the Winnipeg Jewish Review emailed Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, former Canadian Minister of Justice, who has met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2011 in Ramallah, asking for his response to this incident. Cotler’s assistant, Howard Liebman emailed a copy of a motion Cotler tabled on March 23, 2011 in Parliament on the issue of incitement in the PA,Combating Incitement to Hatred and Glorification of TerrorismM-674The motion called for government to: (a ) call upon Hamas, listed as a terrorist organization under Canadian law, to repeal the Hamas Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews; (b ) call upon the Palestinian Authority to cease and desist from State-sanctioned incitement to hatred and glorification of terror, and to propagate a culture of peace; and (c ) call upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority to review the Joint-Monitoring Authority on Incitement in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation.

When contacted for a response regarding the PA’s honouring of the mastermind of the Passover massacre David Baker, spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, “I will defer to the Foreign Ministry on that.” (As an aside, when asked about whether Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to present a new peace initiative when he visits Washington next month, Baker responded, “We’ll have more to say on that, as it gets closer”).

Daniel Zonshine, spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry told the Winnipeg Jewish Review on April 18, 2011 regarding the honouring of the mastermind of the Passover massacre, “We want to draw this to the attention countries other than Israel. We just learned that two days ago the murderers of the Fogel family in Itamar do not regret what they did. This is the result of long term climate of incitement. We are pointing out this incitement because it is not just words, people act on this.” (for more on the Fogel murderers go to )

Switizerland’s Special Representative for the Middle East Ambassador Jean-Daniel Ruch responded to the Review with the following comments regarding the PA’s actions:

“Switzerland condemns all attacks against civilians. They constitute a serious violation of international law and make a peaceful resolution of the conflict more difficult. Consequently, any support, moral, political or material to such acts is unacceptable.”

When asked for his response about this incident of the PA honouring the mastermind of the Passover Masssacre, Ori Nir, spokesperson for Americans For Peace Now in Washington (which makes statements independently of Peace Now in Israel) responded:

Honoring a Hamas terrorist who is responsible for one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations is appalling. We strongly denounce it. I read the report in the Palestinian daily al-Hayyat al-Jadida in its original Arabic. The Palestinian official visited the family of Abbas al-Sayyed to express concern for al-Sayyed’s health (he was hospitalized after going on a hunger strike to protest a six months long solitary confinement. )The article does not mention any explicit endorsement of al-Sayyed’s actions. But clearly, visiting and honoring al-Sayyed’s family implies it, which is very disturbing. “

Yehuda Shaul, founder of Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika), a left-wing Israeli NGO of IDF veterans that have spoken out against what they see as IDF abuses of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that he generally tried ‘not to comment upon issues that were are not directly related” to his organization. However he added in his personal capacity, “I think that the [Israeli] Foreign Ministry’s website says it all.”

The Winnipeg Jewish Review sent an email to media spokesperson for J-Street Amy Spitalnick but did not receive a reply. It has since been learned that Spitalnick is no longer employed by J Street.

Recently, a bipartisan congressional letter condemning Palestinian incitement of violence against Israel gained 46 signatures from key members of Congress. The letter, circulated by Reps. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Steve Austria (R-Ohio) urges President Obama to pressure the Palestinian Authority to eradicate terrorist elements, join peace negotiations with the Israelis and root out “all vestiges of incitement. For more on this click here: