Friday, August 05, 2005

Jewish Terrorist Opens Fire on Israeli Arab Bus

On Thursday, in the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram in the northern Galilee region, an AWOL Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Eden Natan-Zada, 19, opened fire inside a civilian bus, killing four people and wounding at least 12. He was then killed by an angry crowd that gathered soon after the shooting began. According to some reports, Natan-Zada was lynched. The shooting lasted for approximately five minutes.

Natan-Zada was a resident of the Jewish settlement of Tapuah, located in the occupied West Bank, which is a known stronghold of followers of the late radical, racist American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane. According to a report in Ha'aretz, Israel's premier English-language daily newspaper, Natan-Zada, who has been AWOL for a month, was also a member of the outlawed terrorist organization Kach, founded by Kahane.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Natan-Zada's attack "a sinful act" that was committed "by a bloodthirsty terrorist." Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned today's attack, which comes less than two weeks before the Israeli police and military are scheduled to begin evicting the approximately 7,500-8,000 Israeli Jewish settlers (many of them Americans) from the Gaza Strip. Extremist Israeli Jews (right), most of them members of the settler movement, have threatened to unleash a wave of violence in response to the eviction. Others have promised non-violent resistance. Still others have threatened to commit mass suicide. Some Israeli extremists have even prayed for the Angel of Death to come and kill Prime Minister Sharon.

Israeli police fear that the attack could lead to angry protests from Israel's approximately 1 million Arab citizens, who live mostly in the Galilee region and near the Golan Heights and the Lebanese border.

Although the Yesha Council's chairman, Bentzi Lieberman, condemned the attack as the actions of a "madman," his organization still tried to explain Tzuberi's actions. A spokesman for the Yesha Council of Settlements, the main organization representing the settler movement, in an attempt to justify or explain today's terrorist attack, said that the upcoming Gaza disengagement "had led individuals to lose their head."

According to early reports, the Israeli Hebrew-language media initially referred to the attack as a "shooting" as opposed to a terrorist attack. Angry Israeli Arab leaders, including members of the Knesset, have been critical of this. Public protests in the Galilee region are planned for later this week.

For more information on Thursday's terrorist attack, see:

For an analysis of Thursday's terrorist attack by Ha'aretz, see:

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Friday that Natan-Zada (left) would not be buried with military honors. Mofaz said that Natan-Zada was "unworthy of being buried next to the fallen soldiers of Israel's wars." His announcement was soon followed by statements from the mayors of Natan-Zada's hometown of Rishon Letzion and his place of residence, Tapuah, prohibiting his burial in either municipality. Natan-Zada's family says that they will petition Israel's High Court in an attempt to have Mofaz's decision overturned. The Israeli military command in the West Bank has also banned his burial in the West Bank, after members of Kach expressed a desire to see the terrorist buried in Hebron.

For more information on the burial debate of Natan-Zada, see:

Initial investigations by the IDF and the Israeli internal security services, the Shin Bet, have revealed that although there was a wealth of information on Natan-Zada and his ties to Jewish terrorist groups, there was inadequate sharing of that information between government agencies.

For more information on the Israeli investigation, see:

Two of Natan-Zada's victims were buried today in the Galilee, as thousands of Israeli Arabs turned out to mourn and show their anger. The victims were identified yesterday as: Michel Bahus, 56; Nader Hayak, 55; Hazar Turki, 23; and Dina Turki, 21.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a press release, calling Natan-Zada a "Jewish terrorist" who carried out an "unspeakable act."

To the Israeli government's credit, Prime Minister Sharon has pressed for the categorization of Thursday's attack as an act of terror, so the families of the four victims will be eligible to receive funds from a government-run fund.

Meir Kahane (left), a former member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, before his party was declared a terrorist organization and banned, was killed on November 5, 1990 by an Egyptian radical in New York City. His son, Binyamin, was killed in 2000 by Palestinian militants near the Jewish settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank. Father and son both advocated the forcible expulsion of all Arabs from Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Their followers, who number in the hundreds or low thousands, currently form the most radical elements of the Israeli Jewish settler movement. Kach and a splinter Kahanist group, Kahane Chai ("Kahane Lives") are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. and Israeli governments. Despite this, Kahanist groups are known to raise funds from among radical Jewish-Americans in the U.S.

For a taste of Kahanist extremism, see:

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