Israel Resource Review 3rd May, 2005


Exclusive News Story:
Israel and Palestinians Both Allowed Escape of Jihad Terrorist Who Attacked Tel Aviv;
IDF Killed Him Yesterday

Dr. Michael Widlanski

Staff Sergeant Dan Telesnikov, 21, was an Israeli paratrooper who might be alive today if Israel and the Palestinian Authority were really serious about stopping suicide bombers, instead of scoring diplomatic points.

Telesnikov came back from army leave to help arrest a prominent Islamic Jihad terrorist involved in a human bomb attack on Tel Aviv in February in which five people were killed and more than 20 wounded.

But it was not the first time that Israel could have gotten its hands on Shafiq Awni Abdul-Ghani, 37, who had planned and organized the February 25, 2005 attack on "The Stage" nightclub in Tel Aviv.

Aside from being the commander of the Islamic Jihad in Tulkarm, the man who Israeli forces killed in Tulkarm yesterday had several major distinguishing characteristics:

  • He liked to send suicide bombers to Tel Aviv;
  • Israel allowed him to escape arrest;
  • The Palestinian Authority had allowed him to escape jail.

After being apprehended by the PA on information provided by Israel following the Tel Aviv attack, Awni Abdul-Ghani had had been allowed to escape from a Palestinian Authority jail in Tulkarm one month ago. The PA also knew where he was hiding, but made no attempt to re-arrest him.

More intriguing is the fact that Israeli army units had planned to arrest Shafiq 'Awni Abdul-Ghani, three months ago, but did not do so for political reasons, according to Israeli military sources.

The arrest of the Jihad units was called off because Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and the government of Ariel Sharon did not want to be blamed for undermining Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to organize a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire.

"We were about to arrest him and his two units before the attack, and we let him go so that it would not interfere with diplomatic efforts", asserted a senior Israeli officer in a background interview.

Indeed, the Israeli officer hinted that the death of the 21-year-old Israeli paratrooper yesterday may have been linked to the very stringent "instructions on opening fire" that have been placed on Israeli combat units in the West Bank during the last few weeks.

"This is the last time that I will take part in an operation with these kinds of rules", said the officer, noting that the two Islamic Jihad terrorists, thought to be un-armed, opened fire first on the Israeli army units.

The Palestinian Authority both today and yesterday treated the dead Jihad commander as a hero, without mentioning his role in the Tel Aviv attack.

Palestinian radio opened its news programming with funeral details for the Islamic Jihad commander killed in a battle with Israeli forces in Tulkarm. Both Voice of Palestine radio and PBC television frequently referred to Citizen Shafiq, Awni Abdul-Ghani, as a martyr and as someone who had died a heroic martyr's death.

PBC Television showed the Jihad commander in funeral shrouds with Quranic verses adorning his body.

V.O.P. radio emphasized that PA Interior Minister Nasser Youssef met with Islamic Jihad officials in Gaza and condemned "Israeli aggression" and "violation of the tahdiyya". [Tahdiyya is an abstruse Arabic usage which can be translated as "lull" or "cooling-off period".]

PA Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Sha'ath yesterday reiterated the policy of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas that the PA would not try to arrest or disarm "resisters" or "fighters", saying that the Abbas regime wanted to disarm only those who "violated the law".

[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times ,The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.

He has also served as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.

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ZAKA Rejects Request to Take Part in Exhuming Jewish Graves in Gush Katif

News Release
For immediate release
Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Israeli security establishment has requested that ZAKA, the organization that ensures proper burial and collection of human tissues after terror attacks, participate in exhuming the graves of those buried in Gush Katif.

ZAKA refused the request and also decided to discontinue its work with the traffic police, which the organization fears will free up officers to participate in this Summer's expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.

"There is no chance that we will have anything to do with this," ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said. "I was one of the founders of the Hatzala emergency response team in Gush Katif. I am a part of the place. How can I take part in an act like this?"

Zaka Rescue & Recovery

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