Four months ago Israelis were shocked by the
murder of four Jews near the town of Beit Chaggai in Judea. The four were shot at close range by Palestinian Authority terrorists. FYI: that means the terrorists were official “police” working for the P.A.!
Those killed were Yitzchak and Talya Imes, parents of six; Kochava Even-Chaim, who was survived by her husband and a young daughter, and newlywed Avishai Shindler.
On Thursday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided to release one of the killers. Wael Bitar of Hevron was let out of a PA prison along with five other Hamas terrorists, according to Voice of Israel radio.
Bitar was also involved in a suicide bombing that murdered one person in Dimona and wounded several others.
The PA arrested him once in 2008, the year of the bombing, but, as usual, later released him.
Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, called on Israeli troops to make up for the PA’s actions by capturing the released killer as soon as possible.
“The delusion that Abbas plans to fight terrorism has been shattered yet again by the PA’s ‘revolving door,” he declared.
The PA has often demanded that Israel release or pardon terrorists as a “good-will gesture” during negotiations. Abbas has repeatedly said that his ultimate goal is the release of all PA terrorists from Israeli prisons, including those guilty of multiple murders.
A special PA ministry provides for terrorists in Israeli prisons, sending them money, with more given to those who have committed more serious offenses. The PA ‘Minister of Prisoners Affairs’ recently rewarded a woman for having raised four sons who all murdered Israelis.
Among those who pressured Abbas to release Bitar was Israeli-Arab Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the extremist Islamic Movement. Salah has been arrested for anti-Israel incitement on several occasions, and in May participated in an attempt by Turkish pro-terror activists to forcibly break the IDF naval blockade of Hamas.
Qatari leaders pushed for Bitar’s release as well.
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Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza launched a military-grade projectile at an Israeli community of 6,500 residents on New Year’s Day. The attack is part of a recent rise in mortar and rocket attacks on Israel coming from Gaza. To see what Israelis do with the rockets, visit here.
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Countering the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, the Israeli Navy reportedly detained two ships that were trying to enter Gaza’s coastal waters on Sunday.
Israel “holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement on Sunday.
Regional experts believe Tehran is a major sponsor of Hamas both militarily and financially.
Iran-backed Hamas is building up its military capability, particularly through weapons smuggling via Sinai, the Israel Security Agency said in its year-end report.
“The (United Nations) Security Council must give appropriate attention to the smuggling of arms into Gaza, which continues to fuel violence and instability in our region – in violation of numerous Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1860,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Meron Reuben said in a letter to the organization in December 2010.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 in the hope that a civil society would develop and that it would lead to a two-state peace agreement. However, since then thousands of rockets have targeted Israeli homes in the cities and villages close to Gaza. Hamas has also extended the range of its rockets.
Meanwhile, Israeli police arrested five Hamas affiliates in East Jerusalem that were suspected of planning to fire rockets into Teddy Stadium, a sports center in southern Jerusalem, during a Premier League soccer game. Two of the men were Arab Israeli citizens and three were Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem area has seen a rise in terrorist incidents in 2010, including throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails (fire bombs, frequently used to set targets on fire), stabbings, and shootings.
In 2010, there were 798 terror attacks against Israelis. Nine Israelis were killed and 28 were wounded.
Also, 8,050 people have been wounded since the start of the second intifada in late September 2000, a period of increased Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians.
The second intifada began after Yasser Arafat, former leader of the Palestinian National Authority, walked out of the Camp David peace negotiations in July 2000.
There was a decrease in attempted suicide attacks in 2010. Joint Israeli and Palestinian cooperation is one of the reasons for the reduction in violence.
Israel’s preventive security measures, coupled with the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s increased leadership and training of its own police force – with American assistance – has helped.