The mourning tent opened in the PA embassy in Riyadh for Ashraf al-Na'alwa (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018).
Notice in the social networks glorifying Ashraf al-Na'alwa. The Arabic reads, "The legend, the fedayi [one who is ready to sacrifice himself], the hero Ashraf al-Na'alwa" (Bilal Yahya's Twitter account, December 13, 2018).
Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha glorifying Ashraf al-Na'alwa. The Arabic reads, "Ashraf al-Na'alwa...Watch out for him" (Shehab Facebook page, October 22, 2018)
Mahmoud Abbas embraces the murderer, Fatah operative Rajaa'i Hadad, at a ceremony held in his office in Ramallah to celebrate Hadad's release from prison (Wafa, March 14, 2018).
The mourning tent opened in the PA embassy in Riyadh for Ashraf al-Na’alwa (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018).
- Opening the mourning tent for a Palestinian terrorist who killed two Israelis is another example of how the PA and Fatah glorify murderers and turn them into national heroes and role models. Senior PA and Fatah figures participate in memorial services for them, and streets, town squares and educational institutions are named for them. At the same time the PA continues providing moral and financial support to terrorists who were involved in attacks and to their families. Moreover, the shaheed cult is embedded deep in Palestinian society and politics, reinforced through the education system, the media and public discourse. As part of the shaheed cult, the terrorists who carried out the Coastal Road Massacre and murdered the Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics have been turned into Palestinian national heroes (see the Appendix for further examples of PA and Fatah support of terrorists).
- Glorifying terrorists and terrorism, and the extensive support they receive from Palestinian society, encourage and justify the continuation of terrorist attacks and those who carry them out. They also encourage copy-cat attacks. In ITIC assessment, the murder of two Israelis in the Barkan industrial zone, and the success of the terrorist in evading capture for a long time, led to admiration and attempts to imitate him, contributing to the recent escalation in terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria.
Glorification of Ashraf al-Na’alwa in the social networks
Right: Notice in the social networks glorifying Ashraf al-Na’alwa. The Arabic reads, “The legend, the fedayi [one who is ready to sacrifice himself], the hero Ashraf al-Na’alwa” (Bilal Yahya’s Twitter account, December 13, 2018). Left: The Arabic reads, “The Barkan action, Ashraf Abu Sheikha. The legend” (“Nablus Our City” Facebook page, November 6, 2018).
Terrorist Ashraf al-Na’alwa
- On December 13, 2018, in an exchange of fire after nine weeks of pursuit, the Israeli security forces killed Ashraf al-Na’alwa, who murdered two Israeli civilians in a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone (October 7, 2018, two dead civilians and one critically wounded). Ashraf al-Na’alwa was found hiding in a house in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. Al-Na’alwa, who was armed, was killed while trying to avoid capture. According to reports he was planning another terrorist attack. Another Palestinian found at the site was detained on suspicion of helping him escape (Israel Security Agency, December 13, 2018).
- Ashraf Walid Suleiman al-Na’alwa, 23, from the village of Shuweika (Tulkarm region), had a work permit to enter Israel. During the four months prior to the shooting attack he was employed as an electrician at the factory in the Barkan industrial zone where he carried out the attack. For about two weeks before the attack he was absent from work, claiming “family problems.” His Facebook page, where he used the name “Ashraf Abu Sheikha,” was closed immediately after the attack. His last posting before the attack was “Oh Allah, send me a message, for you are the best of messengers” (Twitter account of a person calling himself “Muhammad Sayid Nashwan,” October 7, 2018).
Right: Terrorist Ashraf al-Na’alwa (Sawt Tulkarm Facebook page, October 7, 2018). Left: The last posting to Ashraf al-Na’alwa’s Facebook page (Twitter account of a person calling himself “Muhammad Sayid Nashwan,” October 7, 2018).
The Mourning Tent Opened in the PA Embassy in Saudi Arabia
- After the killing of Ashraf al-Na’alwa, Basem al-Agha, the PA ambassador to Saudi Arabia, opened a mourning tent in the PA embassy building in Riyadh. Those who came to offer condolences were received by the PA ambassador, Ashraf al-Na’alwa’s brother (who lives in Saudi Arabia), and the embassy staff (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018).
- A large poster of the terrorist was hung on a wall of the mourning tent. It read, “The embassy of the state of Palestine – Riyadh. Regards to his courage and the truth in his hand [i.e., the hand that carried out the murders]. The wanted [by Israel] Ashraf al-Na’alwa, shaheed” (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018). Above the poster were pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat next to pictures of Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia and founder of the kingdom, and the current king, Salman, and the crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman.
- The PA embassy in Riyadh sent out notices calling on Palestinians in Saudi Arabia to come to the opening of the mourning tent. As soon as the mourning tent opened the embassy posted a video to its Facebook page called “The wedding of shaheed Ashraf al-Na’alwa.” In the video Basem al-Agha, the PA ambassador to Saudi Arabia, praised Ashraf al-Na’alwa’s mother and family, and the “determination” that supported their “strength, will and hope,” and his “heroism” after he avoided capture by Israel for sixty days (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018).
- Many people who read the posting on the PA embassy Facebook page responded with appreciation and thanks to the ambassador for his initiative (Facebook page of the PA embassy in Saudi Arabia, December 15, 2018). Fatah’s official Facebook page, which posted pictures from the mourning tent, also received many expressions of support.
PA and Fatah responses to the shooting attack at the Barkan industrial zone
- Immediately after the attack the Wafa news agency (subordinate to the office of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas) issued a short report stating that the IDF had erected roadblocks at the entrances to the villages in the western area of Salfit after “settlers were killed in a shooting incident in the Barkan industrial zone” (Wafa, October 7, 2018). No statement was issued by the PA or its leadership condemning the deaths of innocent civilians.
- On October 8, 2018, the day after the shooting attack, Zakaria Zbaidi, a Fatah operative from Jenin, gave his support to the terrorist and the people from his village, writing, “[The village of] Shuweika is a fork in the occupation’s throat and a volcano that will explode against your oppressive entity. Have a good morning, from a different kind of resistance” (Zakaria Zbaidi’s Facebook page. October 8, 2018).
- During the nine weeks between the shooting attack and the killing of the terrorist, Ashraf al-Na’alwa became a national hero and role model. On November 28, 2018, Fatah’s official Facebook page praised him, writing, “The wanted [by Israel] Ashraf al-Na’alwa. Allah guards and protects you, he will not abandon you or harm you.” Many people responded to the post, most of them praising and praying for the terrorist (Fatah’s official Facebook page, November 28, 2018).
The post on Fatah’s official Facebook page, November 28, 2018
- Hamas’ military wing also claimed Ashraf al-Na’alwa as one of its assets. After he was killed the military wing issued a death notice for him, calling him “the hero of the Barkan action.”
The death notice issued in Hebrew by Hamas’ military wing for the killing of Saleh al-Barghouti (“the hero of the Ofra [Junction] action”) and Ashraf al-Na’alwa (“the hero of the Barkan action”) by the IDF, claiming the wing had dispatched both of them (Hamas military wing Twitter account, December 13, 2018).
 For further information, see the November 11, 2018 bulletin, "Legitimization of Terrorism by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority: Glorification of the Murder of the Israeli Athletes at the Munich Olympic Games." ↑
 In classical Islam a shaheed is someone who falls on a jihad battlefield while fighting for the sake of Allah. In the modern Islamic interpretation as it applies to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a shaheed is a person who died during a confrontation with Israel. In classical Islam the shaheed is promised various advantages: he does not suffer the tortures of the grave, does not face Judgement Day, the sins he committed during his lifetime are forgiven and he can recommend entrance into paradise for up to seventy of his relatives (an exceptional privilege in Muslim society). Once in paradise, he will marry 72 houris, black-eyed virgins. A woman marries one shaheed... The shaheed lives in the highest sphere next to Allah, who takes care of all his needs, and next to Muhammad and the righteous Muslims. ↑