On 3rd October 2015, 21-year-old Halabi stabbed 2 Israeli citizens to death, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi (a father of seven) and Aharon Bennett (a father of two), in the Old City of Jerusalem. He also attacked Bennett’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son, who suffered moderate injuries.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority (PA), reported that “The Martyr Yasser Arafat Youth Center (Al-Attara – Jenin) succeeded in organising the first football tournament named after Martyr (Shahid) Muhannad Halabi, which took place on its football fields. The final game was played by the Yasser Arafat Youth Center and Bal’a, which rightly won the title”.
Halabi attempted to justify his murders prior to the attack on Facebook, stating that his actions were a response to the changing of the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque, a Palestinian libel that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has unequivocally denied.
Following his death, a main road between the West Bank towns of Birzeit and Ramallah was named after Halabi. He was also posthumously awarded an honorary law degree by the PA Bar association.
Fatah, the movement headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, arranged for holy soil from the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be brought to Halabi’s grave.
A Palestinian couple in Gaza named their child after Halabi just hours after the stabbing attack. The official PA news agency, Wafa, reported that the mothers of the new-born baby and of the terrorist spoke on the phone after the naming: “The mother of the baby cried from joy at the birth of her baby, who eternalised the name of the hero among the heroes of our eternal people, and the second mother [of the terrorist] cried from joy at the birth of the baby that will eternalise the name of her son the Martyr”.
The PA and Fatah have actively incited violence during the latest wave of attacks. The PA Ministry of Education glorified and honoured terrorists in a recent press release, which stated that representatives of the Ministry and the General Union of Palestinian teachers “expressed their appreciation of the sacrifice of our people”.
The press release stated: “[the representatives] sent greetings of admiration for the Martyrs (Shahids), the wounded, and the prisoners… Glory and eternity to our pure-hearted Martyrs, a speedy recovery to our injured, and freedom to our prisoners”.