‘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