JERUSALEM (May. 18)
Israeli authorities say the murder this week of an Israeli livestock dealer in the Gaza Strip should end the controversy over the Israel Defense Force’s use of undercover agents dressed as Arab civilians to counter terrorist activity.
Security forces were still combing the Gaza Strip on Monday for the killer of David Cohen, 64, of Moshav Te’ashur in the Negev, who was shot to death Sunday after delivering a truckload of calves to a slaughterhouse in Beit Lahiya.
Residents of the town were confined to their homes.
Israeli troops reportedly rounded up between 50 and 100 possible suspects, but according to the authorities, no significant arrests were made. The Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement took credit for the killing.
It said Cohen was murdered to avenge the arrest of their founder and spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, three years ago. Yassin, who uses a wheelchair, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1989 for plotting the murders of two Israeli soldiers.
In other security developments, a curfew was imposed on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah to pre-empt violence after a local Palestinian shot by the IDF last month died of his wounds Sunday.
Intifada activists met publicly in Gaza last Friday to order a reduction in the number of “executions” of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the Israeli authorities.
They already exceed Palestinian fatalities from clashes with the IDF.
Eyewitnesses said as many as 150 masked men gathered on the town common, many carrying rifles, pistols or knives. They agreed that “collaborators” should be punished, but only the most serious should be killed.
They reportedly also agreed that regardless of the current peace process, violent confrontations with the Israeli authorities in the territories would continue.