Israel's "Nazi-like" abduction of 38 Palestinian political leaders – By Khalid Amayreh

Nasser Addin Ash-Sha’er’s family
gather around a photo of him after
his abduction by Israeli soldiers (MaanImages)

Occupied Jerusalem (24 May, 2007) – Israeli occupation troops have abducted scores of Palestinian political and community leaders, including at least two cabinet ministers, legislative council members, several mayors as well as the heads of major charity organizations in the West Bank.

The sweeping arrests are seen as part of a plan devised by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to weaken Hamas and strengthen the Dahlan camp within Fatah, ostensibly in order to create an alternative Palestinian leadership that would accept an Israeli-imposed solution in the West Bank.

Most of the abducted people reportedly are associated with the political wing of the Hamas movement.

Hamas won the Palestinian general election in January 2006. However, due to Hamas’s refusal to recognize the “legitimacy” of the Israeli apartheid regime, the Bush administration in collusion with Israel and a number of Arab regimes, imposed draconian economic, financial and political sanctions on Hamas-led government aimed at scuttling Hamas.

Many observers in the Middle East view the recent fighting between Hamas and the Dahlan militia in Gaza in the context of CIA plans to topple Hamas in favor of a puppet Palestinian regime that would be at Israel’s beck and call.

According to Palestinian sources, the list of abducted Palestinian leaders includes the following:

1. Hatem al Beitawi, a legislative council member and former judge. He is 70 years old and has heart problems.

2. Dr. Nasser Addin al Sha’er, Minister of Education and former deputy Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. He was held in captivity by the Israeli occupation army for 4 months last year.

3. Dr. Hussein al Tarturi, a Professor of Islamic Studies and Minister of Religious Affairs.

4. Adli Ya’esh, the elected Mayor of the City of Nablus.

5. Wajih Qawwas, the elected Mayor of the City of Qalqiliya.

In addition, Israeli occupation soldiers arrested former cabinet minister Abdel Rahman Zeidan, as well as lawmaker Daoud Abu Ser.

All in all, it is believed that at least 38 Palestinian political and community leaders were arrested Wednesday night.

Palestinian sources said that during the arrest raids, Israeli troops acted savagely and in a “Nazi-like manner,” beating and humiliating people and vandalizing their property.

Meanwhile, Israeli army troops stormed and vandalized a number of Palestinian cultural centers throughout the southern part of the West Bank.

In Dura, 10 miles south west of Hebron, Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Anwar Cultural Center, destroying its contents and confiscating computers, Xerox machines, video and TV sets.

Ibrahim Ayyoub, head of the center, said the soldiers inflicted losses estimated at $50,000.

“Their aim is to make us suffer, to inflict losses. The west thinks that Israel is a liberal western democracy. In fact, Israel is very much a Nazi-like regime where the rule of law, as far as non-Jews are concerned, doesn’t exist.”

Ayyoub said he wondered “how these acts of vandalism serve Israeli security interests?”

“These acts are normally the prerogatives of thugs and common criminals, not states, especially one claiming to be the only true democracy in the Middle East.”

At the nearby town of Taffuh, Israeli troops also attacked and vandalized the local cultural center.

In Hebron, occupation troops also stormed and vandalized a children school, confiscating computers and teaching materials.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz suggested that the latest raids and acts of sabotage were meant as retaliation for the firing by Hamas’s military arm of the Qassam projectiles on nearby Israeli settlements near Gaza.

Israeli artillery and air force have been bombarding and bombing Gaza residential neighborhoods, killing and maiming scores of civilians, mostly innocent civilians.

On Sunday, an Israeli raid on the home of a Palestinian lawmaker, Khalil al Hayya, annihilated six members of his family in addition to two other civilians.

The Israeli air force routinely instructs pilots to annihilate entire Palestinian families for the purpose of inflicting “shock and awe” on the Palestinian society.


Khalid Amayreh is an independent Palestinian journalist and commentator.

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