Last December Israel conducted the third of four planned prisoner releases, part of a basket of confidence building measures designed to coax Palestinian diplomats into peace negotiations and keep them there. Each release has proven more controversial than the last, with the Palestinian public and Palestinian leaders staging spectacles celebrating the freed murderers as heroes.
Issa Abd Rabbo – a Palestinian terrorist who in 1984 came upon two Israeli university students who were hiking, tied them up at gunpoint, and then murdered them – was among those released last October. Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas embraced him at a ceremony celebrating the release and lifted up Rabbo’s hands in victory. The effusiveness was directly linked to deepening misgivings among Israelis regarding the releases.
This interview, which shows Rabbo speaking with Palestinian media outlet Ma’an a few weeks ago, won’t help:
Issa Abd Rabbo: “There was supposed to be a military operation shooting at a bus transporting Israeli soldiers… I was surprised when on my way to the area, I waited, waited and waited and the bus didn’t come. I was forced to carry out an operation on my own, an improvisation, I took it upon myself. An Israeli car approached, with two in it. I said, here’s a chance and I don’t want to return empty-handed. They left the car… and walked towards the valley, and sat down under a pine tree. I went down to them. Of course I was masked and was carrying a rifle. He asked me: Are you a guard here? I told him: ‘No, I’m in my home.’ I told him: ‘You are not allowed here. This is our land and our country. You stole it and occupied our land and I’m going to act against you.’ They were surprised by what I told them. I tied them up of course and then sentenced them to death by shooting, in the name of the revolution. I shot them, one bullet each, and went [hiding] in the mountains… I went to my aunt and told her: ‘We have avenged Muhammad’s blood.'”
Host: “She is the mother of Martyr Muhammad Abd Rabbo.”
Issa Abd Rabbo: “I told her: ‘Instead of one, we got two.’ She cried out in joy.”
The video is embedded below.
The Israelis have long emphasized that Palestinian incitement – which ranges from terrorist glorification to the denial of Jewish rights – fundamentally erodes the prerequisites for peace on both side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli officials linked the Palestinian glorification of terrorists to among other things the murder Seraya Ofer, who was killed outside his home in the Jordan Valley. Ofer’s killers subsequently confirmed the suspicion, using rhetoric describing the murder as “a gift”:
Two week before the attack, the murder suspects arrived at Ofer’s home in the vacation resort of Barush to surveillance the area ahead of a violent robbery they were planning, according to their testimony. “After learning that a senior army officer lived there, who might be armed, they decided to carry out a murder ‘as a gift to the Palestinian people and to Hamas prisoners for the festival of sacrifice [Eid al-Adha],'” the suspects said during questioning, according to the Shin Bet.
[Photo: palwatch / YouTube ]