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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The admiration of Hitler among Palestinians

By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, May 24, 2006

The Hamas newspaper this week chronicled with pride the ways in which different foreign leaders singled out the Palestinians as examples of ideal revolutionaries. The first leader cited by the Hamas weekly, Al-Rissala, for praising the Palestinians was Adolf Hitler:

"Adolf Hitler, while exciting the Germans of the Sudetenland - the Sudetenland is a German province that the Allies had annexed to Czechoslovakia after the First World War - told them in his broadcasts: Look at what the Palestinian revolutionaries are doing to Great Britain!!"
[Al-Rissala (Hamas Weekly), May 18, 2006]

Overview: Admiration of Hitler in the Palestinian Authority:

It may be surprising to Western observers to see Palestinians taking pride in having been praised by Hitler. But it is important to understand that the utter revulsion of Hitler expected in the West is not true in Palestinian society. Palestinians can be found who are named "Hitler" as a first name: Hitler Salah [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 28, 2005], Hitler Abu-Alrab [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Jan. 27, 2005], Hitler Mahmud Abu-Libda [Al Hayat Al Jadida, Dec.18, 2000].

This phenomenon of Palestinians being named after Hitler was explained in an article in the official PA daily praising the rewriting of history and the doing of "justice" to Hitler:

"Even Adolf Hitler, who after the fall of Nazi Germany turned into a political horror for most of the writers and artists, during the last decades has started to return himself to his part of the picture. There are some in Britain who defended Hitler and tried to do justice for him. There are elderly people, among them Arabs, who still carry the name Hitler since their fathers, who were charmed by him, linked them [their children] with his name."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2000]

One article explained the phenomenon of naming Palestinians after admired foreign leaders - such as Napoleon and the Nazi General Rommel:

"Sometimes parents name their children with foreign names, due to the father's admiration to a foreign personality. This is the source of the names: Rommel [famous Nazi General] and Napoleon."
[Al-Ayyam, November 15, 2001 "Woman's Voice" supplement].

The admiration for Hitler is consistent with the status of Mein Kampf, which a PA daily cited as a book on the best sellers' list.
[Al Hayat Al Jadida, Sept. 2, 1999].



Husseini inspects Nazi troops ......................... Hitler with Husseini

A contributing factor to this admiration may be the history of the Hitler - Arab alliance during World War 2. The Arab leader in British Palestine, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, was actively allied with Hitler. The numerous meetings between the Mufti and Hitler are well documented.

Finally, the PA daily published an interview with an elderly Lebanese which described the man's professed friendship with Hitler, as well as his pride in fighting for Hitler: And whereas this is a personal account whose historical accuracy is not important, what is significant is the positive, even proud attitude about his friendship with Hitler, that is being expressed so routinely.

Interview with Sheikh Ali Hussain Abu-Ibrahim, a Palestinian resident of Lebanon who claims he is 116 years old:

"Question: What are the important events in your life that left the biggest impression?
Answer: The first was the Hitler event. I met him in Jerusalem in one of the Turkish Army camps, and the friendship between us was very tight. At the time I was a sergeant while Hitler was a simple private. The relationship between us tightened even more once Turkey entered the war together with Germany. The second event was when I participated [with the Nazi army] in entering France and conquering it. I was in charge of the cannon that shelled Paris, which had an active influence on the fall of the French capital and its conquest without any notable resistance. Hitler congratulated me on this shelling and its consequences... As an artillery officer I took part in many operations against the English and France, until the end of the Second World-War ..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 12, 2003]

Clearly, the name Hitler does not have the stigma in PA society that it has in the West. Indeed, not only the Hamas daily, but the Fatah controlled PA dailies as well, have written in favorable tones about Hitler. Clearly, to some Palestinians the man and his name are sources of admiration.

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