Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Ellul 5761 - August 22, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Palestinian Intifadah Dead include Their Own Victims
by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Palestinian counts of their dead in their own Al Aqsa intifadah include those they killed themselves. Also, Palestinian spokesman have no compunction about calling for "revenge" on Israel for Palestinian killing.

A case in point is an explosion last Sunday night that killed Samir Abu Zeid and two of his children. Just before midnight Sunday, Zeid, a commander in the Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement, was blown up in the yard of his home in the Rafah refugee camp. The large explosion also killed his seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Nine others from his family were injured.

On Monday, Hamas "vowed" revenge against Israel for the explosion and said that it has suicide bombers waiting inside Israel to carry out attacks.

However, by late Monday, the IDF determined with relative certainty that Zeid killed himself and his children in what it euphemistically terms a "work accident". That is, that Zeid blew himself and his family up while preparing a bomb to use against Israelis.

The Palestinians first said that the deaths of the Zeids were caused by missiles fired by the IDF.

In its first reaction, the IDF flatly denied this, saying that it knew that none of its forces in the area had fired any sort of weapon that could have caused such an explosion. The IDF did ascertain that Palestinians in the general area had been firing mortar shells, and initially speculated that one of those shells had fallen on the family.

However an AP reporter who visited the house on Monday found no evidence of either a missile, mortar shell, or other projectile, and there was also no crater which would have been expected if there was a hit either by a rocket or a mortar shell. Buckled and bloodstained sheets of corrugated iron were scattered around, and neighbors said Palestinian police had removed all the "evidence."

By Monday afternoon the IDF Spokesman said that they had "credible and confirmed" evidence Abu Zeid blew himself and his children up while making a powerful bomb in his yard.

On Monday afternoon, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ron Kitrey explained to the press: "We know two facts for sure: Abu Zeid and his two kids were killed and others were wounded at the site, and we know for certain that our forces did not open fire there.

"On the basis of these two facts, we presumed, due to what was happening on that front at that moment, that a mortar shell which had been fired missed its target, as often happens, and landed in Palestinian territory. And we put out a statement that it was this shell which hit these people."

Kitrey said the IDF received more intelligence information during the night which led to the change in its original version.

"We know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a `work accident.' I am not sure, but Abu Zeid was apparently dealing with explosives and trying to assemble a bomb," he told Israel Radio.

Also on Monday, Palestinians in Nablus buried Salah Zeidan, 33, who was shot in a clash with troops late Sunday night. His family told reporters that he had not been involved in the fighting and was hit in the chest when he went out to his porch. The IDF said that its position on Mount Grizim had come under fire and troops returned fire.

These names are added to the list of Palestinian dead, which now number over 600. Zeidan, for example, was killed by the IDF even though it was in returning file, but responsibility for Zeid's death and the death of his children lies entirely with Zeid himself.

Painstaking Israeli investigation of Palestinian claims has found them to be far less than they seem. The 12-year-old child killed in cross-fire in the early days of the intifadah almost a year ago, was found by the IDF to have "probably" been shot in the back by Palestinian fire. Through an elaborate reenactment and careful measurements of the angles of fire, the IDF found that it was impossible for its soldiers to have hit the boy, but there was a clear line to Palestinian positions.

Another "martyr" listed among the dead is a doctor who died from a sudden heart attack in his car, according to his family. Another child listed as a "martyr" was killed when a member of her family was playing with a gun.

Israeli dead acknowledged are about a quarter of the Palestinian number, but all of those were murdered by terrorists and most of them are entirely innocent bystanders.

Nonetheless, these contrasting figures are repeatedly cited to show that the Palestinians are suffering more from the violence.

One observer suggested that a number that more accurately represents the situation is the number of attacks by the two sides. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the IDF says that the Palestinians had initiated 6,600 attacks as of August 14, in which 155 Israelis were killed, including 60 suicide attacks. The IDF spokesman did not give the number of IDF attacks on Palestinians, but it is estimated to be less than 300, or about 20 times less. These two figures provide a more accurate summary of the dimensions of the activity.


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