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Thursday, March 22, 2007

US and EU to meet with Kfar Darom murderer Muhammed Dahlan

This post is much longer than usual, but for those who take the trouble to read it to the bottom, you will find a full accounting of one of the most heinous terror attacks in Israeli history - the November 2000 attack on a bus full of school children from Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip.

US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice is due in Israel on Sunday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert and attempt to persuade him to renew the 'political horizon' talks that Olmert stopped when the 'Palestinian unity government' under Hamas came into effect. The Israeli cabinet ruled out a resumption of those talks in its meeting this past Sunday.

But the US and the EU have both said that they will talk to the 'non-Hamas' members of the 'Palestinian government.' That means that one of the people with whom they will be speaking is Muhammed Dahlan. And Muhammed Dahlan is a murderer. This is from a newsletter from Shurat HaDin:
Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center condemns the decision by the United States State Department and European Union governments to maintain diplomatic contacts with PLO officials in the new Palestinian Authority (PA) unity government. The newly stated policy includes the decision to meet with recently appointed PA Security Advisor Mohammed Dahlan, a high-ranking official of the Fatah terrorist organization.

Shurat HaDin accuses Dahlan, a former boss of the Gaza Preventive Security Service and his former deputy, Rashid Abu Shabak, of being the chief perpetrators of the November 20, 2000, bombing of an Israeli school bus outside of Kfar Darom.

In the attack two Israeli teachers, Miriam Amital and Gabriel Biton were killed and many school children were seriously injured. American citizen Rachel Assraf was also badly wounded in the attack.. The bombing of the school bus, which crippled three young children from the Cohen family, shocked Israelis and brought international condemnation of the Palestinian Authority. [The picture of the Cohen family at top left comes from a Time Magazine article from 2002 when the children were released from the hospital. Time identifies the children: "Tehila, in blue, lost both legs; Yisrael, on skates, and Orit, not shown, each lost one." Like everyone else in their town, the Cohens were expelled from Kfar Darom in August 2005. I believe they currently live in Beer Sheva. CiJ]
  • Immediately following the attack on the children, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak dispatched the Israel Air Force to level Dahlan's Gaza headquarters.

  • Then opposition leader, Ariel Sharon called for Dahlan's "immediate assassination" in the Knesset.

  • The Ha'aretz newspaper wrote at the time: "Security sources said yesterday that Israel obtained 'hard' intelligence, prior to the aerial bombardment of Gaza Monday night, that senior figures in Fatah and in Mohammed Dahlan's preventive security apparatus were responsible for the bomb attacks against Israelis in the Gaza Strip, including the bomb which struck a school bus at Kfar Darom on Monday morning, killing two adult passengers and wounding several children."

  • Shortly afterwards, the daily Israeli newspaper HaTzofeh ran a story claiming that American intelligence agencies had intercepted a phone call between Dahlan and Abu Shabak incriminating them in the school bus bombing. Reportedly, the United States had convincing evidence of Dahlan's involvement. [In thirty years they might release this like they released the evidence of Arafat's involvement in the assassination of the US ambassador to the Sudan thirty years late. CiJ].

  • Then Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on June 3, 2002, that: "Mr. Dahlan's involvement in terrorism has not been confined to mere nonfeasance but, rather, gross malfeasance as well. Mr. Dahlan, along with his assistant Rashid Abu-Shabak, are the primary suspects in the terror attack on an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom in November 2000 . . . No democratic state should ever allow itself to do business with those individuals who deliberately target a school bus . . . Criminals such as Mr. Dahlan and Arafat can never be reformed; they must be eradicated by force." [That was before Aliza cast her spell on Ehud. CiJ]

  • Dahlan and Abu Shabak are currently defendants in civil actions filed by the bus bombing victims and their families.

Shurat HaDin believes that maintaining contacts with and promoting an accused terrorist like Mohammed Dahlan, who has targeted Israeli school children, to bolster the so-called "moderate elements" in the new unity government ensures the continuation of the Palestinian Authority's strategy of criminal violence to advance their political goals. The dangerous message being sent is - you can attack Jewish school children and the US and EU will still label you a Palestinian moderate and clamor for your diplomatic involvement.

Shurat HaDin is calling on American and European law enforcement agencies to investigate the Kfar Darom School Bus bombing and undertake efforts to bring Dahlan and Abu Shabak to justice. Those who perpetrated the bombing of an Israel school bus and maimed young children are not acceptable partners for diplomatic efforts. The State Department and the EU must recognize that there is no difference between Dahlan and the other Palestinian Authority leaders from the Hamas who have also targeted Israeli buses.

It goes without saying that I agree wholeheartedly with Shurat Hadin. But for those of you who have forgotten, I am reproducing below my original coverage of the Kfar Darom attack from November 2000:
I knew that this was going to be a difficult day when one of the first emails of the morning was from Roberta in Gush Katif writing about how much shooting there was there last night. Just a few minutes after I opened Roberta's letter, many of her friends had their lives changed forever. Ten children became orphans R"L. And another family had their lives turned upside down when three of their children were crippled R"L in the same bomb blast. Hashem yerachem! I wrote Roberta back and asked her to try to write something to tell you all tonight. It was difficult, but she wrote it, and you will see it later in this update.


This was Roberta's first email of the day:

Dear Carl,

Loud gunfire woke me up last night. It was about midnight.

My daughter called about the same time. She left a message on our answering machine. The road to Netzarim was closed again. She couldn't get back (she is doing Sherut Leumi there)after attending a class in Tel Aviv. She had to sleep over at Kibbutz Saad [just north of Beer Sheva - C.S.].


I finished reading Roberta's letter at about 7:30 this morning. At about 7:38, a powerful bomb went off in front of the armored bus that was taking thirty children and two staffers to school in Atzmona. The bus had just left Kfar Darom, and was full of children. Ironically, the army had spent the night trying to level the area around the bombing spot, because it was the same place where the Palestinian terrorist policeman attacked on Shabbos killing one soldier and wounding two others (one of whom R"L died today). The bomb was a 122mm mortar shell. Despite the fact that the bus was armored, by 8:00 we knew that two people were dead and 8-10 were wounded, at least four critically. We knew that some of the wounded were children - the radio correspondents were being cagey about the dead. Most of the wounded were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, a huge hospital that has the largest number of births each year of any hospital in the world. One wounded person was taken to Barzilay Hospital in Ashkelon. Let's pick up the story through the updates in the Jerusalem Post and Israelwire from there and >www.israelwire.com>:


Children injured in terror attack in Gaza on Monday morning
(NOV.20 – 08:11-IST)

(IsraelWire-11/20) At least twelve persons have been injured in a terrorist attack in Gaza on Monday morning. The attack involved a powerful explosive device detonated against an armor-plated bulletproof schoolbus, indicating the size of the blast must have been enormous. The bus attacked was an Egged bus transporting children to the Talmud Torah in Atzmona.

There appear to be schoolchildren among the wounded, probably from the community of Kfar Darom. The blast occurred at about 7:30am near the Kissufim Crossing at the location known as “Junction 49”. At that same location there was a failed attempt to perpetrate an attack recently involving a suicide bomber on a bicycle.

Israel Air Force helicopters are en route to the scene to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. The trauma unit of the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba has been alerted to prepare for the incoming casualties. Emergency medical service teams, IDF and others are involved in the blast at this time.

(09:05) IDF closes off Kisufim area

Large numbers of IDF troops have been brought to the Kisufim area where this morning's bomb incident took place.

The area has been closed off to all traffic.

The bombing occurred at the spot where the IDF had levelled the land in order to provide a better view for IDF soldiers at a lookout post.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed shock at the grave bombing.

A spokesperson for Soroka Hospital has given the casualty figures as two dead and 9 wounded. She said that most of the wounded were hit in the limbs.

(10:05) IDF: Mortar shell was used in bus attack

According to initial IDF findings, three terrorists were involved in the attack on a schoolbus this morning in the Gaza Strip.

They detonated a 120 mm. shell with a sophisticated fuzing mechanism at the bus from a distance of some 200 meters, according to senior IDF officers.

A group calling itself the Aksa Martyrs [today they're called the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. CiJ in 2007] has taken responsibility for the attack.

The bus was carrying 30 children accompanied by adults. The two dead were said to be a man and a woman.

Among the wounded are four children and three women.


(11:05) PA denies connection to attack

A senior source close to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat said that the Authority was not involved in this mornings school bus bombing.

The source said the attack took place in an area under Israeli security control.

The source said that Arafat would open an investigation into the event and immediately convene a meeting of the Palestinian security council.

He also said that Palestinian Authority rejects any violence from any side.


[Just to interrupt for one second - I want to show you another item from the Post web site from this morning, and you can decide for yourselves whether the PA really "rejects any violence from any side." The update above turned my stomach when I saw it, because of the update below:

(09:15) Abed-Rabbo denies ceasefire order

Palestinian Minister of Information Yasser Abed-Rabbo this morning denied that the Authority had issued an order to stop shooting from Area A or from residential

Abed-Rabbo said the Palestinian Authority was, "responding to the will of the Palestinian people and ordered a halt to the shooting in order to preserve the
popular nature of the uprising." ]


(09:35) IDF officer: Terrorists chose children's bus

The terrorists operated the roadside bomb from a distance and deliberately chose a yellow schoolbus, Col. Pini Levy, deputy commander of the IDF's Gaza Brigade, said this morning.

He described the incident at Kisufim as a sophisticated operation which required advance intelligence information, collaboration in the area and an escape route into Palestinian Authority territory.

The terrorists' purpose was to get children and they deliberately chose their objective - a yellow bus of the local council carrying children and teachers, he said.

The two dead in the incident are believed to be adults who accompanied the children to school.


Here is Arutz Sheva's summary :

Miri Amitai, 36, a mother of four, and Gabi Biton, 34, a father of six, are the two Israelis who were killed in the terrorist attack this morning near the Magen Junction in Gaza. Close to 7:30 AM a large bomb, comprised of a 122-mm mortar shell, was detonated on the road as a school bus passed on its way from Kfar Darom to N'vei Dekalim. Eleven were wounded, including two in serious condition. Three terrorists detonated the explosive from a distance of 200 meters. Although the bus was bulletproof, it was not fortified against bombs. The road on which the attack took
place had been reopened to Palestinian traffic only a short while before.

Three siblings of the Cohen family from Kfar Darom are hospitalized in Soroka in Be'er Sheva; a fourth one missed the bus and remained at home. Their mother was unable to get to the hospital because the roads are closed. Government minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, a relative of the family, visited them today. The names and ages of the three children: Orit (bat Nogah), almost 12; Tehillah, 8.5; and Yisrael, 7. They are suffering from severe injuries to their limbs, and doctors are struggling to prevent the need for amputations [Note - All three children needed some sort of amputation in the end. One lost both legs. Hashem yerachem.... CiJ].

Thousands of mourners took part in the funeral of Mira Amitai this afternoon, in her original hometown of Ofrah. Among them were busloads of her students at the Girls' High School in Gush Katif, where she taught. Michal Finkel, a sister of Mira Amitai, tearfully told Arutz-7 today that her sister was quite aware of the dangers and had lived through the experiences of many previous attacks, "but it was always clear to her and her husband that they would remain in Kfar Darom, that it was all Eretz Yisrael and that it was ours and important to remain there."

Gabi Biton's funeral will be held in Yerucham this evening.


And finally, a few words from Roberta about the victims, and about what is going on in her mind today:

Dear Carl,

It is very hard for me to write this letter. But I guess it is important for everyone to know.

Where shall I start. From the end.

I am home safely. Two of my kids are on the road coming home from their teacher's funeral.

Miri Amitai (Hashem Yikam Damah) was a wonderful person and one of the best teachers in the Ulpana in Neve Dekalim. She taught history and geography and made the subject come alive for her students. She taught three of my daughters. Her oldest child is in 8th grade. She was always smiling and always looked at the world from a positive angle. When the last bus was almost blown up she ran after it since she was in her own car to see that everyone was all right. She then spoke to the children about the event and gave them a lot of Chizuk...

Alan [Roberta's husband - CiJ] & I worked with Gabi Biton (Hashem Yikam Damo) in the tomato packaging plant in Gush Katif many years ago. He was also a wonderful person, very quiet and nice, another Tzadik taken to the True world.

Noga Cohen, the women whose three kids were hurt is usually on the other side of the table. She is the counsellor (Yoetzet) in the regular elementary school.

The Haddad family whose daughter Cheli was only hurt a "little" worked with me when there used to be a Technological Incubator in Gush Katif before it was closed by that hater of the settlers, Ron Cohen [Meretz MK and Minister of Industry and Trade. He shut down the Gush Katif incubator and Roberta now commutes to Tel Aviv - probably a 90-120 minute drive each way - every day - CiJ]. [CiJ writing in 2007 - Roberta eventually moved out of Gush Katif because of that commute long before everyone else was expelled. I think she now lives in Beit Shemesh. CiJ] She had been on the other bus that almost blew up once before.

My daughter in Netzarim heard and saw them shooting up Aza [more on this below - CiJ]. Too bad it is only buildings. Buildings for two holy souls. Too bad that the government had to wait until people were killed. Our rabbi said in schule on Shabbat that he now understands the prayers "miracles morning noon and night." Well today, the bombing could have been worse and that is a miracle but...

Overhead we heard the helicopters and then saw the lights from the bombings [see below]. Then we heard shooting. I don't know if it is us or them...

And to a more personal note:

My husband got a telephone call from my youngest daughter who was crying because her teacher was just killed. He went to the school and when he got there there was not a dry eye. The kids were on the floor crying hysterically. The teachers weren't much better. They dismissed the school. On the way home they announced the funeral. And where it would be and that the busses were leaving 12:30. It was already 12:00. They ran home and put the books away and caught the bus. All her friends were there. While waiting she turned to my husband, "I"m going to be with my friends." So he gave her his pelephone and told her to go without him since it is at least a 3 hour trip. On the way they switched busses. Now she is somewhere near Latrun and on the way home.

Daughter #2 called to find out what happened. All I knew was that there had been an explosion. I had to call her back. When I found out from daughter #1 who it was I called her back. She ended up going with another classmate to the funeral. They are now on the bus back from Ofra to Kfar Saba.

Daughter # 3 called me hysterically. (Everyone was hysterical today). She had just heard. Everyone was going/not going. At the end I told her not to go so she didn't. She spent the afternoon (in her Ulpana) crying and sleeping.

On the way to work I picked up 3 soldiers. They came from Kfar Darom. A few minutes later we heard about the explosion. They said they were just on the bus that exploded as it took them to Kissufim and then it returned to Kfar Darom to pick up the students.

On the way home I passed a demonstration at Ashkelon and Saad.

I am totally drained. Everyone is.

What more can I say. I wish I could have written this better, but I can't. The above will have to do.

I hope that Tzahal will finally do what they have to do, but I doubt it. Barak is too afraid of antagonizing the world so we here in Israel remain cannon fodder for Arab terrorists who then cry when we "react" a little bit.

My all those who were injured have a speedy recovery. My all the families find comfort. May Mashiach come NOW and not wait any longer.

It's nearly six years later and as I re-read Roberta's email I got tears in my eyes again. These are the 'people' with whom Condaleeza Rice and Javier Solana of the EU want to "do business." These are the 'people' to whom - two months after this terror attack - Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres and Shlomo Ben Ami attempted to give the country away. AND THEY REFUSED TO TAKE IT BECAUSE THEY WANTED ALL THE JEWS GONE OR DEAD!!!!! Enough is enough!


At 7:32 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

2 other things about Dahlan.
1) His involvement in terror is somewhat diversified. He has been close to Hamas (in the past) and protected Mohammed Deif for years. His "security" forces have been implicated in other terrorism.
2) He is corrupt.
The primary beneficiaries of the oil imports are the 'Preventive Security' apparatuses and their heads, Colonels Muhammad Dahlan in Gaza and Jibril Rjoub in the West Bank. The oil imported to the PA from Israel has come under investigation for fraud by the Israeli police, Israel's revenue service and the Israeli Customs Department. In addition, the three oil companies that supplied the territories prior to the PLO's arrival - Paz, Delek and Sonol - and were replaced in 1994 by the PA favored fourth Israeli company, Dor, have filed a civil suit against the PA in Israeli courts.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

This is the hardest post to read all in a go. I can't...I will read it in pieces, as it also makes me weep, and feel so utterly frustrated and so furious at what has been going on and now? They have been trying to kill all the Jews for so long, and there are far too many enablers who look the other way. No, Jewish blood is not cheap, as they will learn the hard way, I hope.

I feel utterly betrayed by my own government, and Condi Rice? I won't say what I think of her; not fit to post, but President Bush has me furious. He just sits there? Re the EU? They are blind and stupid. One morning they will wake up, but it will be too late.


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