JERUSALEM (Dec. 30)
Police are investigating the unprovoked shooting of three West Bank Arabs, apparently by an Israeli civilian, last Thursday night near the Etzion Bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem.
The wounded, members of an Arab family from Hebron, included an infant. They were taken to Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital in Ein Kerem and were said Sunday to be out of danger.
The victims, who were driving from Bethlehem to Hebron, were identified as Dr. Faisal Amru, 40; his sister, Ibtissam, 34; and her 9-month-old son, Aya Jamal Amru.
The baby apparently was the most severely hurt. He suffered serious stomach and leg wound for which he underwent surgery. The hospital said Saturday his condition was “improving.”
The attack occurred at about 10 p.m. local time. The assailant was described as a lone man wearing an IDF uniform and the kippah of an Orthodox Jew. He opened fire on the car with an automatic rifle and fled on foot in the direction of the Etzion settlements.
An anonymous telephone call to the news media shortly after the attack said it was carried out by a previously unknown group calling itself the Zionist Vengeful.
Police spent the weekend questioning West Bank settlers, but they came up with few clues about the assailant, and no arrests were reported.
The telephone call spurred media speculation that a new anti-Arab Jewish terrorist underground may have sprung up in the territory, similar to one active in the 1980s.
That idea was promptly rejected by the settlers and by Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, the senior Israel Defense Force commander in the central sector, which includes the West Bank.
NO NEW ORGANIZED UNDERGROUND
The incident occurred little more than 24 hours after the release from prison of the last three of 25 members of the 1980s Jewish underground group to serve time for murdering and maiming Arabs.
They served less than seven years of what originally were life sentences and got heros’ welcomes from West Bank settlers when they emerged from prison.
Another past member of the underground, Dan Be’eri, told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz in an interview that the attack on the Amru family was probably the work of someone acting alone or perhaps a few unorganized individuals.
Be’eri said he did not believe an organized Jewish underground like the one in the 1980s was possible in the administered territories.
In any event, he said, he doubted it would be organized like the earlier one by people associated with the Gush Emunim settlers movement.
Knesset member Dedi Zucker of the dovish Citizens Rights Movement released a list mean-while of 34 fatal assaults on Arabs, apparently by Israeli civilians. In only a few cases were charged ever brought, Zucker charged.
Police officials claimed all of the cases cited by the Knesset member are still under investigation, but none of them produced evidence of organized Jewish terrorism.
The police said charges would be filed in at least half the cases.