|Beyond Images - Briefing 13
||Perspectives on the Arab-Israeli Conflict
WORKER LYNCHED: How Palestinian terrorists exploit the easing
of restrictions on their towns
|London - published Friday 23 August 2002
"Israel should ease the military restrictions on
the Palestinian West Bank towns. Those restrictions cause
hatred and violence, but if they were lifted the violence
would be reduced".
Israel's withdrawal from Palestinian
West Bank towns
In the period 1995-1997, Israel withdrew
from all major Palestinian towns including Nablus, Ramallah,
Qalqilya, Jenin, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Hebron, and handed
over their administration to the new Palestinian Authority.
Israel had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip and from Jericho
in 1994. These steps took place under the Oslo peace process.
The assumption was that under self-rule,
the Palestinian people would gradually move towards pragmatic
coexistence with Israel, paving the way for successful final
status negotiations and a comprehensive peace agreement.
As a result of the violence since September
2000, Israel has reluctantly been forced to re-enter these
cities to quell relentless Palestinian terrorism. Under Operation
Determined Path, launched in June 2002 in response to two
suicide bombs in a day in Jerusalem which killed 26 people,
Israel has declared that its reoccupation of these towns could
carry on for a significant period of time, until there is
a long-term halt to the terror against its citizens.
Israel's withdrawals give the terrorists the opportunity
Critics of Israel's policy of reoccupation
claim that the Israeli presence in the towns causes more violence,
by creating Palestinian hatred. They call for Israel to withdraw,
and argue that Palestinian violence would reduce as a result.
The problem is that the facts do not bear
this out. Over and over again, Israeli military withdrawals
have been followed, sometimes in a matter of hours, by fresh
attacks launched by Palestinian groups from the very location
from which Israel had just withdrawn.
An example: the lynching of Israeli moshav worker Shani
Here is a recent example. On Thursday 1
August, Israel partially lifted the curfew it had imposed
on the West Bank Palestinian town of Tulkarem. This step was
intended to make daily life a little bit easier for the town's
residents (Israel's policy of curfews has attracted international
criticism, and some criticism within Israel).
Within hours of the easing of the curfew,
terrorists had left the town, seizing 27 year old Israeli
Shani Ladani while he was working outside Moshav Nitzanei
Oz, which is close to Tulkarem.
Ladani was bound hand and foot, and shot
in the head at point blank range.
Here is an extract from the statement made
after the killing by Israel's senior military officer in the
area, Brigadier-General Gershon Yitzhak. While this statement
applies to the facts of the Ladani case, the underlying message
is very important and could be applied to dozens of similar
"This is brutal terrorism, which doesn't take into consideration
the Palestinian people who came to this place in the morning,
as over the past two years, to work, earn their livelihoods
and be able to feed their children….
… I can say that all our desire recently to make life
easier for the Palestinian populace and enable a return to
normal life does not go hand-in-hand with the ambition of
the terrorist elements, who are doing everything possible
to prevent their own people from resuming a regular routine…."
- quoted in Jerusalem Post, 2 August 2002
Israel has no interest for the sake of
it in tightening restrictions on the Palestinian population
as a whole. But it is not Israel which is ultimately responsible
for bringing about those measures, but the Palestinian terrorist
The murder of Shani Ladani is a tragic
illustration of how Palestinian terrorist groups sabotage
Israel's efforts to achieve day-to-day improvements in the
welfare of the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, the Ladani
incident is not an isolated one, but part of a pattern.
The economic stagnation of Palestinian
society is the result of the choice which the Palestinian
leadership made two years ago to embrace terrorism as a strategy.
The continued Palestinian plight is the
result of that tragic and senseless decision.