Israeli Assassinations

Half Century Of Israeli Assassinations

Bernadotte was killed for advocating the return of Palestinians expelled from territories captured for the establishment of Israel

By Yasser Al Banna, IOL Correspondent

GAZA CITY, August 22 (IslamOnline.net) – Killing Hamas political leader Ismail Abu Shanab on Thursday, August 22, topped half a century of assassinations – one of the most heavily-used weapons in the Israeli arsenal. History can tell.

Even before the creation of Israel, assassination was one of many tools used by Jewish gangs to pave the ground for the would-be state.

On July 22, 1946, they struck at the King David Hotel, the south wing of which housed the British military command and the Mandatory government secretariat, killing some 91 people, including 28 Britons, 41 Arabs.

On September 1948, Jewish gangs assassinated U.N. envoy Conte Folke Bernadotte simply because he called for the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from territories captured for the establishment of the fledging state of Israel.

Bernadotte advocated a total demilitarization of occupied Jerusalem and blamed Jewish forces for “aggressive” behavior in the holy city.

After that, Israelis used to send booby-trapped packages to Arab and foreign personalities on its hit list.

In 1956, the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad) sent a similar package to Egyptian army officer Mostafa Hafez in Gaza, to eliminate a key commander of resistance in Gaza City.

Abu Ali Mustafa was killed by Israeli Apaches

Again, in 1963 when former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was the chief of the “Freedom Fighters” military wing, Israel sent booby-trapped packages to German personalities accused of assisting Egypt in developing its missile program. Many of them were killed.

In 1970s, Israel intensified its assassination campaign by dispatching squads of intelligence agents to hunt down Palestinians across Europe.

Such liquidations were only halted after a botched attempt was uncovered in the Norwegian capital Oslo, in which an Algerian was killed instead of the Palestinian target.

In a rear interview with the BBC in 1993, Israeli military intelligence (A’man) ex-chief Aharon Yariv admitted that Israeli political leaders were always trying to distance themselves from several Mossad operations in Europe and world countries.

He told the British broadcast had received direct orders then prime minister Golda Meir (1969-74) to assassinate Palestinian resistance leaders wherever they were.

Mossad agents were allowed to use any means at their disposal to get rid of the carefully selected Palestinian leaders, according to Yariv.

In 1972, Israeli intelligence agents assassinated Ghassan Kanafani, a leading figure of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

One year later, they liquidated three other resistance group leaders, namely, Youssef el-Nagar, Kamal Odwan and Kamal Naser.

Mossad assassinated Fatah official Mohamed Bodia the same year by blowing up his car.

In 1975, the Israeli intelligence made a successful attempt on the life of Mahmoud Al-Hamshari, the founder of the Palestinian Force 17, by planting an explosive device in his home phone in Paris.

The force was formed in the early 1970s to offer protection to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and other leaders of the PLO.

Rantissi survived an Israeli air raid on his car

After the formation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the force was officially disbanded and merged into other forces operating as presidential guards for Arafat.

Four years later, Force 17 commander Abu Hassan Salama was killed in Beirut after his car was detonated by remote-controlled device.

In 1988, Israeli commandos fired 70 shots at Palestinian official and a leader of Palestinian Liberation Organization Khalil Al-Wazir Abu Jihad in Beirut. The attack was led by former Israeli premier Ehud Barak.

In 1992, Israeli U.S.-made Apache helicopters assassinated the leader of the Lebanese resistance party Hezbollah Abbas el-Moussawi, his wife and son.

In October 1995, Islamic Jihad Secretary General Fathi Al-Sheqaqi was killed in Malta when two Mossads agent riding a motorcycle fired on his head.

In September, 1998, Mossad carried out a failed assassination attempt on the life of Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal by trying to poison him but the perpetrators were arrested in Jordan.

New Black Page

Abu Shanab was the latest victim of Israeli assassinations

With the beginning of Aqsa Intifada on September 28, 2000, Israel stepped up its campaign of assassination against Palestinian activists, at a rate of one every week.

Fatah official Thabet Thabet was the first on the list and was liquidated in October 2000.

According to an Israeli research centers, Israel carried out 135 assassinations until May 2003, killing 249 members of various Palestinian resistance factions.

Some 105 Palestinians, including 35 children, also died in the Israeli operations which left 500 more wounded.

The most prominent of those assassinated by Israel was Abu Ali Mustafa, the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who was targeted by an Israeli Apache helicopter gunships in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 27, 2001.

On July 22, 2002, Israeli F16 warplanes shelled the house of Salah Shehada, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza city, killing him with 15 civilians in one of the fiercest Israeli attacks.

On the second year of Aqsa Intifada, from 29 September 2001 to 29 September 2002, Israel killed 113 Palestinians in 15 assassination attacks.

In the last seven months of the Intifada, 83 Palestinian activists were killed – along with dozen others who happened to be on the scenes, in 43 Israeli assassinations.

On June 10 Israel carried out a failed assassination attempt on the life of a prominent Hamas political leader, Abdelaziz al-Rantissi.

On Tuesday, May 6, a Palestinian official said Palestinians foiled an assassination attempt on the life of President Yasser Arafat by a poisonous substance.

The assassination policy was derided by many critics as “war crimes” under international law, and disapproved by not a small number of Israelis.

A poll published on June 13 found that two-thirds of Israelis want a halt to Israel’s practice of “targeted killings” of Palestinian activists, a coined Israeli term for assassination.

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