In the West Bank town of Halhoul, just days after two Israeli hikers were murdered by Fatah terrorists nearby, Palestinian Arabs held what is becoming an annual event to commemorate Saddam's death. This was the scene a year ago in Halhoul;
Arabs across the Palestinian Authority continued their demonstrations Monday mourning the death of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein who was hanged Saturday in Baghdad. Some 500 people attended a rally mourning Saddam in Halhoul, near Hebron in the southern part of Judeaand now a year later the crowd has only grown and the scene has become more elaborate
The Halhoul commemorations are no rogue gatherings, similar events continue to occur all across the West Bank. Nor are these events isolated. President Abbas, whom the US government insists on calling a moderate, issued the following statement just a year ago after Saddam Hussein's execution.
The demonstration in this southern town in the occupied West Bank opened with the silent tribute for the former Iraqi president who was one of the most popular Arab leaders among Palestinians.
Holding Saddam portraits and gripping Iraqi and Palestinian flags, rally participants recited poems praising the dictator who was hanged on December 30, 2006 in Iraq after a court sentenced him to death for his role in the slaughter of tens of thousands of ethnic Kurds in 1988.
After a sketch parodying Saddam's trial by an Iraqi court, the demonstrators burned Israeli and American flags.
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has publicly praised the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, in a statement read on PA television and radio, saying, “Saddam Hussein has entered history as a symbol of state nationalism and Pan-Arab nationalism who helped the Palestinian revolution.”The Palestinian Arabs of course have a long love affair with Saddam and their deluded belief in his greatness could only die with great difficulty. Consider this look back at how they took Saddam's defeat in 1991
The Palestinians tell their own version of the war. An Iraqi Scud missile slammed into Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, killing 400 Soviet Jewish immigrants just off the plane. Thousands of Israelis were slaughtered by the Scuds, and the Dimona nuclear complex in the Negev lies in ruins. The Americans lost 100,000 soldiers in battle. Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait was only tactical, designed to lull the allies, while Saddam Hussein waited for the right moment to incinerate the Jewish state. "Every Palestinian knows that Saddam will emerge victorious," said Abdul Majeed Shahin as he discussed the war with a dozen others gathered in Jerusalem's Muslim quarter last week. "You see, he's got a secret weapon."And that is at the root of it all, pride and shame, not in any accomplishment but gained from tyranny, brutality and murder.
Such wild fantasies are remarkably widespread among Saddam's Palestinian supporters, who simply cannot accept that they have once again backed a loser. Even after the Iraqi leader cavalierly jettisoned their cause during last- ditch peace negotiations with the Soviets, many Palestinians refuse to believe they have been abandoned by yet another Arab leader
Palestinians blame everyone but themselves for their latest setback, failing to acknowledge that the enormous political and financial damage they are suffering is largely self-inflicted. By siding with Saddam, they lost sympathy and support among the allies, both Western and Arab...
But so far the reaction on the streets of the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is defiant. "Maybe he lost the battle, but that doesn't mean he lost the war," said Faisal al Afghani, whose Amman souvenir shop sells miniature Scud missiles. "We haven't had a leader like Saddam since Saladin." Unable to digest Iraq's defeat, many sought refuge in elaborate rationalizations. "The surrender of Iraqi troops," declared Stawri Khayat, a 30-year-old linguist from Jerusalem, "was staged by the Zionist-controlled media."
This capacity for denial even in the face of manifest evidence may strike Westerners as absurd, but it is deeply rooted in the Arab psyche's mixture of bravado, rhetoric and religious conviction. Arabs denied Israel's existence for decades and believed that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had a trick up his sleeve when his air force was destroyed in the first hours of the 1967 war. Fouad Subhi, a butcher at the Baqa'a refugee camp near Amman, still puts his faith in Saddam: "After he rebuilds Iraq, he will try to liberate Palestine again."
The clandestine leadership of the intifadeh ordered Palestinians to tune in to Jordanian television, which offered a rosier version of events. Many Arabs avoided the news altogether. Said Thalji Shwaiky, a vegetable seller from the West Bank village of Halhoul, "I can't stand the humiliation."