"Palestinians from President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction named a town square on Sunday after the leader of a 1978 bus hijacking in which 35 Israelis were killed."
"Many Palestinians see Dalal al-Mughrabi, a member of the then-underground Fatah movement, as a heroine for her role in hijacking the bus on Israel's Haifa-Tel Aviv highway.
"We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement," Fatah member Sabri Seidam said at the unveiling of a plaque showing Mughrabi cradling a rifle against a backdrop map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The square was festooned with Palestinian flags.
The Palestinian Authority conducted the naming ceremony two days after five Israelis were stabbed to death in their home in Itamar, the victims including an infant and a four year old. This raised the question of whether the perpetrator or perpetrators of these murders will be deserving of a town square named for their "heroic acts" at some future date.
Since there is no Joe Lunardi of bracketology.com to offer any advice on which Palestinian murderers will get a town square named for them or other naming glory, I have attempted to recreate the calculus that the PA seems to use in making these important decisions.
1. How many Jews did you kill?
This seems to be a key criterion. Only five Jews were murdered in Itamar, and the killers carelessly missed two more children who were in the home. Earlier in the evening, many more young people were in the Fogel home, but left with the 12 year old daughter who eventually discovered the killers' handiwork later that night. The Itamar killers could have added to their "body of work" by better timing of their attack. It seems likely that the suicide bomber who murdered 30 mainly old Holocaust survivors at a Passover seder in Netanya or the suicide bomber who killed 21 teenagers at the Dolphinarium disco in Tel Aviv are among several Palestinian "freedom fighters" who will earn serious consideration for new town squares, well ahead of the Itamar killers.
2. How many young Jews did you kill?
Murdering Jewish babies and young Jews seems to help in getting the selection committee's recognition. Murder of the young has the multiplier effect wherein the committee looks at the total number of years of Jewish life eliminated. Killing a 4 year old Jewish girl counts for 78 years, a 4 year old Jewish boy for 75.
The Itamar killer or killers may have impressed "the Committee" by murdering three young people, and two young adults. The total number of years of Jewish life eliminated may exceed that of several suicide bombers with much higher total Jewish death counts.
3. How vicious were the murders?
The Itamar murderer or murderers scored high in this category. Not just any ordinary killer can slit the throat of an infant, or stab a 4 year old in the heart. The Committee is certain to consider this "strength of settler" factor in its decision, though the higher score here goes if those murdered were more defenseless. In the past the Committee has favored those who killed sleeping children to awake ones.
4. How big a deal were the murders to the mainstream media?
Did the murders get to the front page of the New York Times, or rate a background story on NPR, or the BBC on how the killers had no choice, given Israeli settlement activity, but to force the world's attention to the crimes of the infant and toddler settler and their brutal occupation?
The Itamar murderer did very poorly here. The New York Times' initial story by Isabel Kershner was not on the front page and only mentioned settler or settlement 8 times including in the title. CNN used quotes around the words "terrorist attack" and the Times headline indicates that Israelis "suspected Palestinians" of committing the attack. Of course, it could also have been a robbery gone wrong (the 4 year old refused to turn over his teddy bear), or perhaps there was a dispute among neighbors. But in any case, the story was dwarfed by coverage of the earthquake in Japan. This too reflects badly on the killers -- why could they not have waited a week or two until the Japan story faded? The Munich Olympics killers only killed 11 Israelis, but the story of this carnage was seen on television in real time for nearly 24 hours by billions. I think the big media coverage enabled these mass murderers to earn the Committee's attention, and earn a high seed for future town squares.
5. Did the killings bring joy to the hearts of Palestinians?
After news of the Itamar slaughter occurred, people took to the streets in Gaza to celebrate, passing out sweets for the sweet news. However, there have not yet been competing claims of responsibility for the brave act that usually accompanies Palestinian mass murder of Jews. This may be a problem for the Committee.
6. Did the killers derail the peace process?
My mistake. This is not a factor in the decision process. While the PA wants to properly honor its top mass murderers, they still seek a two state solution in which Israel and the Palestinians get to live side by side in peace, and security. Or at least Barack Obama believes they seek this.
The Committee operates much like the Baseball Hall of Fame voters. Reports indicate that an eligible mass murderer must receive ¾ of all votes in any of the first ten times he or she is on the ballot. If the killer fails to get the necessary votes in ten tries, the killer can go out and murder more Jews to improve his performance record, or try to get recognition from the Fatah Veterans Committee. The murderer only needs to win a simple majority of the votes of the Veterans Committee, made up of Fatah members over age 60 with Jewish blood on their hands. Some Palestinian mass murderer purists have decried the fact that the Veterans Committee has lowered the bar, granting recognition to Palestinian murderers who only killed one or two Jews.
It appears that the clearest road to a Palestinian town square named in your honor remains to kill lots of Jews, many of them young Jews, and in vicious fashion. It also helps to get lots of media attention for the murders, most of which will point to Israeli settlement activity as the root cause of all the problems in the "occupied territories', and in the rest of the world.
At this point, I think the Itamar killer or killers are "on the bubble." Just 3 weeks back, the Palestinian Authority honored prior Palestinian murderers who killed 3 Jews in Itamar. The Committee may want to honor Palestinians who murder Jews in other places, rather than giving a second award to murderers of Jews in Itamar, though this week's mass murderer did get the Jewish body count in Itamar up to 5. If it turns out that only one murderer was responsible for the Friday night killings, the dead Jews to killer ratio may be enough to get this murderer his town square.
Richard Baehr is chief political correspondent of American Thinker.