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Israel Orders Four Arabs Deported in Wake of New Round of Stabbings

March 25, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel, furious over another spate of random stabbing by Palestinians, ordered the deportation over the weekend of four terrorists from the Gaza Strip.

But more severe measures were demanded Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting. Hard-line ministers, though still in the minority, seemed to reflect the mounting anger, fear and frustration of average citizens.

The latest assaults occurred Saturday. Three people were wounded, none seriously. But their assailant turned out to be the killer of Mordechai (Motke) Reuchman, a 70-year-old furniture dealer from Hadera stabbed to death in his shop on March 21.

The assailant was identified as Fares Ahmad Barud, 30, a resident of Gaza who had been living illegally in the Israeli Arab town of Baka al-Gharbiya and was said to make a living dealing in old clothes.

His stabbing spree began Saturday with the knifing of Shidad Mahamid Anis, an Arab resident of Baka al-Gharbiya whom he mistook for a Yemenite Jew. He took a taxi to nearby Moshav Ganot-Hadar, where he attacked a middle-aged couple in their home.

Barud was apprehended by civilians while trying to escape in a car on the Hadera-Tel Aviv highway.

The police who booked him said he had no prior criminal record but that he confessed to murdering Reuchman and told them he was after Jews who had benefited from Arab land.

On Saturday night, Maj. Gen. Mattan Vilnai, commander of the southern region, ordered four residents of Gaza deported. He described them as hard-core terrorists involved in the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Al Fatah wing.

The men were identified as Jamal Yassin Hassan Abu-Habal, 33; Muin Mohammad Mussalam, 31; Hashem Dahalan, 31; and Jamal Abu-Jidian, 33. None of them has been linked to the recent stabbings. Three were serving long prison terms for security offenses when they were released in 1985 in a controversial prisoner exchange with Ahmed Jabril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.


But a bloc of hard-line ministers called for more drastic measures than deportations.

Although Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir preferred to discuss the situation within the policy-making Inner Cabinet, whose deliberations are classified, Minister-Without-Portfolio Rehavam Ze’evi, head of the far-right-wing Moledet faction, insisted on airing the problem before the full Cabinet.

Ze’evi contended that curfews, deportations and temporary closures of the administered territories were the equivalent of treating cancer with aspirin. He demanded that 1.75 million Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip be permanently barred from entering Israel.

He called for the deportation of all Arab “murderers and inciters” with their families, the closure of Palestinian newspapers in East Jerusalem and a review of the army’s rules of engagement, apparently with a view to allowing harsher measures to quell Arab unrest.

He was backed in the Cabinet on Sunday by Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan and Minister of Science and Energy Yuval Ne’eman, leaders respectively of the Tsomet and Tehiya parties, both to the right of Likud. They called for the death penalty for Arabs who kill Jews, the deportation of suspected terrorists with their families and the demolition of their homes.

Those measures were rejected by the Cabinet majority. So was a comparatively mild suggestion made by Police Minister Ronni Milo of Likud. He proposed barring entry into Israel proper to all young single Arabs from the administered territories. His rational was that most of the assailants caught have been unmarried men.

But even such partial restrictions could lend strength to the concept of separation of the territories from Israel proper, which is unacceptable to those Israelis who regard the West Bank and Gaza Strip as indisputable parts of “Eretz Yisrael,” the Land of Israel.

Israel faces another dilemma inasmuch as deportations are frowned on by the United States, its chief economic and political supporter.


Much of the Cabinet session was taken up with arguments explaining and justifying the latest deportation orders, in anticipation of objections from Washington.

Avner Shaki, the minister of religious affairs, complained that American opposition is unfair. He maintained the Americans would take even tougher measures if faced with a similar situation.

The four deportees have recourse to appeal before a military appeals board and, if that fails, to the High Court of Justice.

The military board has never overturned a deportation order, and the High Court has reversed only one out of scores.

The last deportations occurred on Dec. 15, when four Moslem fundamentalist activist were expelled from the Gaza Strip. If the latest four are expelled, they will bring to 66 the number of Palestinians deported by Israel since the intifada began 39 months ago.

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