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Freeing Terrorists By: David Bedein
Israel Resource Review | Tuesday, August 12, 2003

At a time when Israel is freeing terrorists as a confidence building  measure to the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen and Arafat had made a  special request of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that Israel free  Ahmad El- Sukar,  because of their special relationship with El  Sukar,  which spans more than fifty years.

El Sukar had been sentenced to 14 life sentences.

Ahmad El-Sukar was the Arab terrorist responsible murdering 14 and maiming 70 in a Zion Square bombing, when he placed a refrigerator bomb there on July 4, 1975.

I was there in Zion Square that day, guiding a student group who witnessed the massacre.

My social work teacher. Mira Berger, was one of the people who was murdered that day.

Mira's profession was working with concentration camp survivors, thirty years after World War II.

El Sukar, had lived in Chicago for many years and who also holds U.S. citizenship, worked for the Fateh under the cover of a U.S. businessman, and returned to his village near Ramallah in the mid-sixties, where he continued his activity in the Fateh.

And so, at the  express demand of U.S. Secretary of State Powell, Israel freed El-Sukar, 28 years after his crime. El Sukar signed a  declaration that he would not engage in terror or incite to terror.

That declaration also stated that if he violated the declaration that he understood Israel could put him back in prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

I specifically asked the spokesman of the Israeli Prime Minister  on the day of El-Sukar's release if the return to terror would mean his  endorsement of terror activity on the official media of the PA.

The PM spokesman responded in absolute terms, saying that if El Sukar would incite to murder, then he would be re-arrested. After all, since  El-Sukar, at age 68, might not be able to schlep refrigerators, he  might inspire others to emulate his act.

And yet, only a few weeks after his release, El-Sukar called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers at a rally in Bethlehem that was widely reported on Palestinian Authority radio and Palestinian Authority TV, reminding the crowd that "in return for three soldiers, Israel released 1,150 prisoners in the famous (Jibril) exchange."  He also praised the Palestinians for killing one Jew for every three Palestinians killed.

On August 7th, a meeting was held at the office of the Israeli Prime Minister. Ariel Sharon. Sharon's staffers discussed the fact that El Sukar had violated the terms of his release with his clear call to terror on the "Voice of Palestine" of the Palestinian Authority.

The PM office informed the media that the matter of re-arresting El Sukar would now be discussed. It remains to be seen whether that will happen.

David Bedein, author of the forthcoming book, "Swimming Against the Mainstream", has run the Israel Resource News Agency. www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com, since 1987, at the Beit Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also heads the Center for Near East Policy Research and serves as the Middle East correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, www.thebulletin.us.

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