Recalling that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was the financier of the Munich Massacre and other murderous terror attacks against Israel, it should come as no surprise that Abbas has promoted a terrorist who masterminded the murder of 3 Americans (and many others) to Major-General rank (2 stars):
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promoted a man who commanded a Palestinian terror unit to the rank of major-general. Mahmoud Damra, commander of Yasser Arafat’s personal guard and terror unit called Force 17, was responsible for the planning and logistic coordination of numerous terror attacks in which many people were killed. Among those killed in the terror attacks he commanded were US citizens Esh-Kodesh Gilmore and the couple Binyamin and Talia Kahane in the year 2000. He has been imprisoned by Israel since 2006.
The following is from the Palestinian daily Al-Quds:
“President Mahmoud Abbas decided to promote the prisoner Mahmoud Damra, [known as] Abu Awad, commander of the ‘President’s Security Force 17,’ to the rank of major-general.” [Al-Quds, March 6, 2010]
As an interesting aside, in most armies Major Generals typically command divisions (10,000+ soldiers) or at least brigades (usually around 5,000 soldiers). It is clear that Damra, who merely commanded a terror unit, will never command that many troops even if Israel makes the mistake of releasing him from prison. So the rank is either purely ceremonial or an example of the fantasy rank-inflation seen in many third-world despotic cultures. See, for example, Manuel Noriega of Panama, who promoted himself to be a full, 4-star general despite commanding only 16,000 troops. This is the same rank as Eisenhower had for much of the time he was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
In contrast, Israel has more normative ranking of its commanders, with the Israeli Chief of Staff being the IDF’s only Lieutenant General (3 stars). Moshe Dayan, Israel’s chief of staff in the 1950′s when the army was smaller, had the rank of Major General.