- Published: Monday, March 7, 2016 - 3:20 PM
- Tags: Qalandiya: Lynch RamallahSecond Intifada; Gaza; Aziz Salha; Vadim Nurzhitz; Yossi Avrahami
Israelis are known for their ability to absorb the effects of terror, moving on with their lives quickly when another war occurs or when terrorists carry out attacks.
Yet, there are events that will never be erased from the collective memory of Israeli society.
One of them is the horrific murder of two reserve soldiers in a Palestinian police station in Ramallah in October 2000. Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami took a wrong turn, passed an Israeli checkpoint and entered Ramallah.
When they reached a Palestinian checkpoint, they should have been returned to Israeli territory but instead, were taken to a Palestinian police station where they were beaten and stabbed to death. After that their eyes were gouged out, and they were disemboweled.
Many Palestinian policemen took part in the lynch and, in the end, the bodies of Nurzhitz and Avrahami were thrown out of the window of the police station where an ecstatic crowd cheered and kicked the bodies of the dead soldiers.
Aziz Salha, one of the participants in the horrific murders, was filmed by an Italian TV crew when he displayed his blood-stained hands to the crowd. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison but was released in 2011 when Israel swapped more than 1000 Palestinian terrorists for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped in Gaza by Hamas.The Italian journalists were later threatened by the PA and apologized for filming the aftermath of the lynch.
The barbaric murders shocked Israel to its core and contributed to a slow realization that peace with the Palestinian Arabs was not possible.
The man, Muhammad Abed Abu Rahman, a 24-year-old resident of the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh located on the highway to Jerusalem, drove into Beit Hanina while speaking Hebrew on his mobile phone. A mob of local Arabs surrounded his car and threatened him for daring to speak Hebrew, Israel National Newsreported.
Later, ten Arab men armed with knives and steel rods approached Rahman’s car and stoned the vehicle. The assailants thought Rahman was Jewish and screamed insults in Hebrew. Abu Rahman’s life was saved by the quick reaction of police officers who arrived at the scene after the Israeli Arab called the emergency hotline in Israel.
On Monday night, two Israeli non-combat soldiers were luckier than Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami in 2000 when they escaped an Arab lynch mob in the Qalandiya refugee camp a few kilometers north of Jerusalem.
The two soldiers used the Israel navigation app Waze in their car, but that didn’t prevent them from taking a wrong turn and from straying into the Palestinian Arab refugee camp. The car was immediately stoned and set fire by a Palestinian Arab mob. The soldiers fled the area.
One of the soldiers succeeded in calling the IDF when he hid in the yard of a house in Qalandiya. The other soldier escaped the camp and started to walk in the direction of the nearby Jewish village Kochav Ya’acov. He was not able to call the IDF because he left his phone in the burning vehicle.
The IDF responded to the emergency call by deploying large forces to the area of Qalandiya and by using the so-called Hannibal protocol. The Hannibal Directive is last resort measure that the Israeli army uses when a soldier is missing, and a kidnap by Arabs is suspected.
The protocol allows soldiers to operate with nearly complete freedom to prevent kidnapping. The measure is controversial because it allows the use of massive firepower even when it means the kidnapped soldier could be killed.
On Monday night, the protocol was in effect for half an hour until the missing soldier was found and resulted in massive clashes with the Palestinian Arab population of the refugee camp.
Hours later, when the IDF tried to retrieve the burned army jeep from Qalandiya, a firefight broke out that killed one Arab and wounded fifteen Palestinian Arabs. About ten members of the Israeli security forces were wounded in the operation.
Watch here footage of the IDF action in Qalandiya:
“(Waze) includes a specific default setting that prevents routes through areas which are marked as dangerous or prohibited for Israelis to drive through,” the company said in the statement while adding that the soldiers had disabled the setting.