‘Friend’ Sad­dam mourned


THE FLY­ING of black and Iraqi flags and the bran­dish­ing of por­traits of Sad­dam Hus­sein in protest marches through­out the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked the ex­e­cu­tion of the for­mer Iraqi leader last week­end.

Rit­ual mourn­ing tents were set up by Pales­tinian or­gan­i­sa­tions and private cit­i­zens in Jenin, Beth­le­hem, Rafah and Gaza City.

A Ha­mas spokesman said that Sad­dam’s ex­e­cu­tion marked “the pass­ing of a friend of the Pales­tinian peo­ple, and a comrade of Yas­sir Arafat” and called the hang­ing an “atro­cious as­sas­si­na­tion” and a “show trial”. Ha­mas par­lia­ment mem­ber Mushir al-Masri said Sad­dam’s death was “proof of the ter­ror­ist, crim­i­nal Amer­i­can pol­icy and of the US war against all the re­sis­tance forces in the world.”

Pales­tinian Author­ity Chair­man Mah­moud Ab­bas did not,, how­ever, com­ment on the ex­e­cu­tion, and nei­ther did Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Is­mail Haniyeh. Avi Is­sacharoff, the Pales­tinian-af­fairs com­men­ta­tor for the Ha’aretz news­pa­per, said Mr Ab­bas prob­a­bly kept quiet so as not to dam­age his re­la­tions with Wash­ing­ton, while Mr Haniyeh made no com­ment be­cause of his close re­la­tions with Sad­dam’s bit­ter foe, Iran.

Sad­dam was re­garded by many Pales­tini­ans as an Arab hero, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the first Gulf War, when he fired Scud mis­siles at Is­rael and threat­ened to set the coun­try on fire.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments found in Arafat’s Ra­mal­lah head­quar­ters, Sad­dam sent $20,000 to the fam­ily of ev­ery Pales­tinian sui­cide bomber, $10,000 to fam­i­lies of Pales­tini­ans killed by IDF troops and $5,000 to Pales­tini­ans wounded by the Is­raeli Army. In all, he sent $35 mil­lion to Pales­tini­ans dur­ing the sec­ond in­tifada.

Ac­cord­ing to the Pales­tine News Net­work, pho­to­graphic stu­dios in the north­ern West Bank town of Nablus have re­ported dozens of young men ask­ing for copies of images of Sad­dam to be re­pro­duced in dif­fer­ent sizes to frame for their homes.

A Pales­tinian man protests in Nablus against the ex­e­cu­tion of Sad­dam Hus­sein

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