Beyond Images - Briefing 13  Perspectives on the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
MOSHAV WORKER LYNCHED: How Palestinian terrorists exploit the easing of restrictions on their towns
London - published Friday 23 August 2002

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"Israel should ease the military restrictions on the Palestinian West Bank towns. Those restrictions cause hatred and violence, but if they were lifted the violence would be reduced".

Israel's withdrawal from Palestinian West Bank towns

  • In the period 1995-1997, Israel withdrew from all major Palestinian towns including Nablus, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jenin, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Hebron, and handed over their administration to the new Palestinian Authority. Israel had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip and from Jericho in 1994. These steps took place under the Oslo peace process.

  • The assumption was that under self-rule, the Palestinian people would gradually move towards pragmatic coexistence with Israel, paving the way for successful final status negotiations and a comprehensive peace agreement.

  • As a result of the violence since September 2000, Israel has reluctantly been forced to re-enter these cities to quell relentless Palestinian terrorism. Under Operation Determined Path, launched in June 2002 in response to two suicide bombs in a day in Jerusalem which killed 26 people, Israel has declared that its reoccupation of these towns could carry on for a significant period of time, until there is a long-term halt to the terror against its citizens.

Israel's withdrawals give the terrorists the opportunity to strike

  • Critics of Israel's policy of reoccupation claim that the Israeli presence in the towns causes more violence, by creating Palestinian hatred. They call for Israel to withdraw, and argue that Palestinian violence would reduce as a result.

  • The problem is that the facts do not bear this out. Over and over again, Israeli military withdrawals have been followed, sometimes in a matter of hours, by fresh attacks launched by Palestinian groups from the very location from which Israel had just withdrawn.

An example: the lynching of Israeli moshav worker Shani Ladani

  • Here is a recent example. On Thursday 1 August, Israel partially lifted the curfew it had imposed on the West Bank Palestinian town of Tulkarem. This step was intended to make daily life a little bit easier for the town's residents (Israel's policy of curfews has attracted international criticism, and some criticism within Israel).

  • Within hours of the easing of the curfew, terrorists had left the town, seizing 27 year old Israeli Shani Ladani while he was working outside Moshav Nitzanei Oz, which is close to Tulkarem.

  • Ladani was bound hand and foot, and shot in the head at point blank range.

  • Here is an extract from the statement made after the killing by Israel's senior military officer in the area, Brigadier-General Gershon Yitzhak. While this statement applies to the facts of the Ladani case, the underlying message is very important and could be applied to dozens of similar incidents:-

    "This is brutal terrorism, which doesn't take into consideration the Palestinian people who came to this place in the morning, as over the past two years, to work, earn their livelihoods and be able to feed their children….
    … I can say that all our desire recently to make life easier for the Palestinian populace and enable a return to normal life does not go hand-in-hand with the ambition of the terrorist elements, who are doing everything possible to prevent their own people from resuming a regular routine…."

    - quoted in Jerusalem Post, 2 August 2002


  • Israel has no interest for the sake of it in tightening restrictions on the Palestinian population as a whole. But it is not Israel which is ultimately responsible for bringing about those measures, but the Palestinian terrorist groups.

  • The murder of Shani Ladani is a tragic illustration of how Palestinian terrorist groups sabotage Israel's efforts to achieve day-to-day improvements in the welfare of the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, the Ladani incident is not an isolated one, but part of a pattern.

  • The economic stagnation of Palestinian society is the result of the choice which the Palestinian leadership made two years ago to embrace terrorism as a strategy.

  • The continued Palestinian plight is the result of that tragic and senseless decision.


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