Palestinian Authority leaders, including President Yasser Arafat, sponsored a soccer tournament glorifying terrorists who died as “martyrs.”

Each of the 24 teams is named for a terrorist, terrorist group, or someone who died fighting Israel, reported Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, or PMW.

The names include Yichye Ayash, the first Hamas bomb-belt engineer; Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who hijacked a bus, killing 36 in 1978; Abu Ali Mustafa, the head of the Popular Front terrorist group; Izzadin el-Kassam, the name of the suicide bombers’ wing of Hamas; Raid Carmi, commander of the suicide bomber wing of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; and Hassan Salame of the Black September terror group, involved in the 1972 Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes.

PMW notes tournaments glorifying terrorists are not unusual in the Palestinian territories, but this one is striking because it is sponsored prominently by PA leaders. Along with Arafat, they include Saab Erekat, Jibril Rajoub, Minister of Sport Abdul Fatach Hamal and Ikrama Sabri, the Palestinian Authority mufti.

The tournament comes, PMW commented, “as the PA is actively courting world leaders to continue promoting the Road Map, based on the premise that the PA has reformed and now rejects terrorism.”

In January, a soccer tournament for 12-year-old boys was named after Abed Al-Basset Odeh, the suicide terrorist who killed 30 at a Passover Seder in April 2002.

In a report last year, PMW said under the Palestinian Authority, numerous schools, summer camps and sports teams are named for terrorists, and symbols of violence continue to be used in education and sports.

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Soccer tournament named for ‘martyr’

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