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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gush Etzion’

Mastermind of Kidnapping, Murder of 3 Teens Indicted; Attack was a Family-Run Affair

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Hussam Hassan Qawasme, the Hamas mastermind behind the June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, has been indicted, according to a statement released today by Israel’s Shin Bet security forces. The IDF military court announced the indictment Thursday morning, nearly two months after Qawasme was arrested for his suspected role in the terror attack. A number of family members have also been implicated for assisting him in the crime.

On June 12, Hamas terrorists from Hebron kidnapped Gil-Ad Sha’er, 16, Naftali Frenkel 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, while the three were hitchhiking at Gush Etzion Junction, and shot them dead shortly thereafter when they realized that one of the teens had called the police.

According to the indictment Qawasme, a senior Hamas operative, received funding for the operation from his brother Mahmoud, a Hamas terrorist who was released to Gaza in the Gilad Schalit deal. Hussam Qawasme obtained total of at least 150,000 shekels to use for the attack, at least some of which is believed to have been transmitted by his mother and another woman who was not named.

The investigation revealed that the money was used to purchase the vehicles used in the kidnapping, as well as two M-16 assault rifles and two handguns, the latter of which were used to kill the teens. The vehicle used in the kidnapping itself was burned near the town of Dura, while the getaway vehicle was abandoned in Hebron.

The two main suspects in the actual kidnap and murder, Marwan Qawasme, a relative of Hussam, and Amar Abu Aisha, remain at large. In his confession, Hassam Qawasme named others who helped hide the two suspects.

Following the murders, Hussam and Marwan Qawasme took the bodies of the victims and transported them to a field purchased by Hussam several months prior to the attack, where they buried them.

When the bodies of the missing teens were found on June 30, Qawasme went into hiding, and planned to enlist the help of family members to flee to Jordan. The Shin Bet named these as Hisham Qawasme, 35, Jamil Qawasme, 28, and Hassan Qawasme, 45, who all currently in Israeli custody.

The ringleader was found and arrested on July 11 while hiding in the Shuafat refugee camp.

The Shin Bet said that Hussam is “the son of a family whose sons have been involved in severe terror attacks on behalf of Hamas.” His brother Hassin was involved in the bombing near the International Convention Center in Jerusalem in March 2011 and is currently serving a life sentence. Mahmoud Qawasme, another brother of Hussam, served 20 years in prison for assisting in the 2004 suicide attack in Be’er Sheva that killed 16 Israelis.

Two other brothers were also implicated for helping Hussam organize the kidnap and murder of the three teens.

Gaza Terrorist Paid Hamas Brother $61,500 to Kill Teens

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Cleared for publication:  Hebron resident Hussam Qawasme was apparently paid NIS 220,000 – $61,500 – for the June 12 abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion.

Qawasme was arrested July 11 in connection with the attack, which he is credited with helping to mastermind. He reportedly received the funds for the job from his brother, a convicted Hamas official in Gaza.

According to information released Thursday by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) it was Qawasme who hid the bodies of 19 year old Eyal Yifrah, 16 year old Naftali Frenkel and 16 year old Gilad Sha’ar, kidnapped and murdered on June 12. He had purchased the field where the bodies were stashed in shallow graves along Highway 60 in the town of Halhul, halfway between Hebron and Gush Etzion.

“In an intelligence operation launched by the Shin Bet, Hussam Qawasme was tracked down and arrested in a hideout in the Shuafat refugee camp,” the Shin Bet stated.

Hussam Qawasme was given up by another arrested accomplice who had hidden him and was also recently indicted. Hussam himself was incarcerated in Israel from 1995 to 2002. He was convicted on charges of involvement in Hamas terrorist activities, including participating in a cell that carried out bombing attacks.

“He is the son of a family whose sons have been involved in severe terror attacks on behalf of Hamas,” the Shin Bet added.

The Hamas operative planned to flee to Jordan after stashing the bodies of the three teens but instead was caught and arrested, according the a statement released Thursday by the Shin Bet following Qawasme’s indictment in the IDF military court.

Hussam Qawasme is described in court papers as a ‘command level Hamas operative.’

His brother in Gaza – who allegedly bankrolled the operation – was freed by Israel as part of the prisoner exchange deal that secured the Oct. 18, 2011 return of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from five years of captivity by Hamas.

The money was transferred from Gaza to Qawasme in Hebron via cash-stuffed envelopes carried by Hussam’s mother and another, unnamed woman, the indictment alleged. Among the purchases were a vehicle with which to carry out the attack and four guns.

The two kidnapper-killers, relative Marwan Qawasme and Amer Abu Aisha are still at large.

But under interrogation, Hussam Qawasme, 40, named other Hebron family members who had planned to help him escape to Jordan with a fake ID after the attack. Hisham Qawasme, 35; Jamil Qawasme, 28; and Hamas member Hassan Qawasme, 45, are all in Israeli custody.

Turkey Condemns Israel Decision to Change Gush Etzion Land Status

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Turkey this week condemned a decision by the Israeli government to change the status of 400 hectares (988 acres) of land in Judea near the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shevut from “survey land” to “state land.”

The status change legally allows further development of the area, which originally was authorized for development as an IDF Nahal community by an Israeli cabinet decision in 1982. At that time, the community was called Geva’ot and began in 1984 but closed two years later. Nahal was followed by a host of small pre-fab houses which from 1986 to 1996 became the home of the Shevut Yisrael Yeshiva.

The land is located well within the area that is to remain under Israeli control no matter which which “two state” agreement is worked out with the Palestinian Authority, if by some miracle one ever is. For nearly half a century, the land has been under Jewish sovereignty and largely unoccupied.

The decision by Israel’s government on Sunday could potentially also unfreeze plans that were laid aside in 2012 for construction of 523 housing units on the site. It is located close to the bus stop where three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists on June 12.

“We denounce Israel’s seizing land, which is aimed at building illegal settlements, in villages in the West Bank, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a written statement this week. “Israel’s decision to dispossess the largest scale of land in the West Bank for the last 30 years displays this country’s practices that violate international law on occupied Palestinian lands.”

Ankara added that it expected the decision to be reversed and warned Israel against taking steps that could harm the cease-fire with Gaza, which it said could “destroy grounds for lasting peace and the two state resolution,” according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

US Pushes PA Agenda and Tells Israel to Cancel New Gush Etzion Town

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The U.S. State Dept. told Israel Tuesday “to reverse” the decision announced earlier this week to clear the way for a new Jewish town on 400 acres of land near Bethlehem.

State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki also castigated the Netanyahu government even planning an announcement for new homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, accusing it of acting “contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians, and it would send a very troubling message if they proceed.”

The American statement totally undermine any pretense that the Obama administration is willing to allow the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to negotiate and instead is talking for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has demanded that Israel cease all activity for Jews in Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem that it intends to be part of an independent PA state.

Today was not the first time this week that the United States has objected to the declaration of Givaot, an area in Gush Etzion, as state land, but Psaki’s strong language was virtually an order to the Israeli government.

After having expressed “concern” on Sunday, the absence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s shuttering in fear, kissing Psaki’s foot and repenting for the ghastly act of laying claim to land that belongs to no one, apparently prompted her to use the sledgehammer Tuesday.

After calling on Israel to change its mind on Gush Etzion, which Abbas and President Barack Obama know very well remain under Israeli sovereignty no matter what, Psaki turned her fury on the audacity of Israel to even consider tampering with Jerusalem.

“We are also very concerned by reports that new settlement and East Jerusalem construction or planning announcements may be issued at any time, including for the sensitive area of (Givat HaMatos) in East Jerusalem,” Psaki added. By stating that ”these steps” are contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians,” she took the issue off the negotiating table.

Her boss, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, has stated several times, as has President Obama, that the United States cannot decide the final status for the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Kerry has made suggestions but never has so boldly told Prime Minister Netanyahu to play by American rules, which change with the wind.

Psaki called the Israel announcements “unilateral steps that undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.” By the same logic, every time the Palestinian Authority builds a home in Judea and Samaria or in areas of Jerusalem it claims, it is a “unilateral action.”

Bennett Praises Govt Decision on Gush Etzion in Visit to Yeshiva Mekor Chaim

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Economics Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett praised the government today (Monday, Sept. 1) during a visit to Gush Etzion for its decision to answer terror with Jewish expansion.

Bennett visited Yeshiva Mekor Chaim in Gush Etzion on the first day of Israel’s school year Monday. The yeshiva, located in Kfar Etzion, was attended by two of the three teens martyred by Hamas terrorists this past June.

“Until a couple of months ago, you students here at Mekor Chaim were regular students. Today you are the spearhead. You now bear extra weight upon your shoulders, the “mekor chaim” – the source of life ‘’ of Israel,” he told the students.

“Yesterday the government made two decisions – one which builds up and strengthens the Gaza frontier, and the second which builds up and strengthens Gush Etzion,” he added.

Bennett praised the government’s decision yesterday to designate a tract of land near Alon Shevut, not far from the yeshiva, as state land. The lot is located close to the bus stop and hitchhiking post from where the three teens were kidnapped and subsequently murdered.

“What we did yesterday was an act of Zionism,” Bennett explained as he toured the area. “Building is our reply to murder.”

Women in Green organization leaders Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover also praised the decision.

“The Defense Minister has allocated 4,000 dunams for the city of Geva’ot – congratulations! We hope that this is indicative of additional positive steps in the future, not only as a reaction to the murder of Jews but as a policy – but the high tones of protest from America, the world, the left, and the Arabs reveal the depth of the problem of Judea and Samaria.

“If the government of Israel does not apply sovereignty to the expanses of Eretz Israel, this question will remain open to negotiations and endless disputes. Israeli Sovereignty must be applied, and realized by the state maintaining law and order for all its citizens – including the Beduin, the Arabs, and others. The time has come to initiate and once and for all apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” they said.

Obama White House Condemns Designation of Gush Etzion Lot as ‘State Land’

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

The decision came as a direct result of the kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of three teenage yeshiva students on the site in early June.

The U.S. claimed the move would damage future final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a Statement Department spokesman said. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians. We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

In general, the U.S. has opposed Israeli development in Judea and Samaria, although most past administrations have ameliorated their concerns, depending on circumstance.

The 4,000-dunam lot is located adjacent to the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shevut, not far from bus stop and hitchhiking post where Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar were abducted by Hamas terrorists and then murdered on June 12. Their bodies were found three weeks later in Judea after a massive manhunt by thousands of IDF soldiers and security personnel, in a field owned by the Hebron-based Qawasme clan along Highway 60 between Hebron and Gush Etzion in the PA town of Halhul.

Prior to the designation, the Judea and Samaria civil administration had designated the status of the area — known as Geva’ot — as ‘survey land’ as ordered by the political establishment after the bodies of the three teens were recovered. The move froze the status of the area and prevented construction plans from moving through the system until a determination could be made about its future, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Geva’ot is not new. In 1982, an Israeli cabinet decision laid the groundwork for development of the area as an IDF Nahal community, which started in 1984 and then closed two years later. For the next 10 years the site became the home of the Shevut Yisrael Yeshiva, with small pre-fab homes. In 1998, The Gush Etzion Regional Council reached out to the government, requesting construction of a full-scale city on the site similar to Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Modi’il Illite and Beitar Illit. Plans began but two years later were dropped due to international diplomatic pressure. In 2008, once again the plans were picked up and moved forward in 2009, especially after the Annapolis Summit came to naught. By 2012, initial authorization for 523 homes was secured from the Defense Ministry — and there the project was frozen.

Gush Etzion is well within the area Israel is likely to retain in any final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The PA immediately responded that the site belongs to districts of two separate PA-controlled cities: Bethlehem and Hebron. Bethlehem is located across the road and is more than five and a half miles north. Hebron is the same distance, to the south.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, declared Sunday evening, “The settlement enterprise is illegal,” in a sweeping condemnation of every Jewish city, town and village built in Judea and Samaria, including any that might be built on the newly-designated state land. Nearly 400,000 Jews now live in Judea and Samaria.

He, too, said the move would “bring about a further deterioration” in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which at this point includes Hamas in its unity government.

The PA has had to be repeatedly dragged to the negotiations table over the years, each time with ‘enticements’ and ‘good will gestures’ forced on Israel by the United States.

Rock-Throwing Terrorist Hits Jewish Driver in the Head, Car Overturns

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

A resident of the southern Hevron Hills is in serious condition from injuries to the skull after an Arab rock-throwing terrorist hit him in the head shortly after midnight Saturday, forcing his car to overturn.

The victim’s wife and baby, who were traveling in the car on their way home, were not hurt.

The terrorist struck between Al Aroob and Carmei Tzur, immediately south of Gush Etzion and one of the favorite launching areas for Arab attacks on Jewish drivers. The IDF routinely stations jeeps in the area, but restraints on dealing with rock-throwers have hampered deterrence,

The victim was rushed to Hadassah Hospital and is undergoing surgery Sunday morning for internal bleeding and skull fractures.

Prayers are being said for the recovery of Yedayah ben Orna.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rock-throwing-terrorist-hits-jewish-driver-in-the-head-car-overturns/2014/08/24/

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