Palestine/Israel News and Information
Israel Renews Assassination Policy
The Palestine Monitor A PNGO Information Clearinghouse UPDATE
14 July 2005
A 24-year-old Palestinian named Mohammad Al-Aasi from the Balata Refugee Camp was assassinated early this morning at his home in the Rafidiyeh neighborhood of Nablus. Another Palestinian man and a British national were with him at the time. The woman is a 60-year-old journalist living in Nablus. She is reported to be in shock from the incident.
Witnesses said about eight Israeli Jeeps and other personnel-carriers surrounded the house around 1:30 a.m. Israeli soldiers ordered Al-Aasi to leave the house, but he tried to escape. Israeli troops shot and injured him, and Palestinians believe he was then shot and killed at close range due to the large exit wound in the back of his head. Witnesses say Al-Aasi never attempted to clash with the soldiers.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed Al-Aasi as a member, but say he was not active in the resistance. He was one of many wanted men who was waiting to join the police or otherwise remove himself from Israel’s target list.
As a recent B’Tselem report* has pointed out, this kind of illegal extrajudicial assassination is nothing exceptional for the IDF to carry out.
But Israel’s renewal of its illegal targeted assassination policy at this sensitive time when the Jerusalem envelope is being closed, devastating tens of thousands of Palestinians, and when the target was in no way involved in Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Netanya, is incomprehensible in light of Israel’s professed interest in peace.
Other recent violations of the Sharm agreements include Israel’s re-occupation of Tulkarem, a town given over to nominal Palestinian Authority control on March 21, as per the agreements reached in Sharm el-Sheik on February 8. During the invasion, Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least one Palestinian Authority policeman and arrested several Palestinians. The perpetrator of Tuesday’s suicide bombing came from At-Til village, which is under full Israeli military control. Palestinian officials have asked Israel how they can be held responsible for an area not controlled by the PA.
Israeli forces remain in Tulkarem, and Israel has suspended talks with Palestinian officials until further notice, a dangerous move considering that the disengagement is only a month away, the Palestinian Authority has soundly condemned the bombing, the Wall and settlement building are going on unchecked, and tensions are extremely high. Isolating the Palestinian Authority can only give more leverage to extremists and make working toward justice and peaceful coexistence more difficult.
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