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When Murderers Go Free

By Michael Freund
1/27/2005, 12:00 AM

Remember the bombing of an Israeli school bus filled with children in November 2000?

Well, if a report on the front page of today’s Yediot Ahronot is accurate, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is about to let one of the main perpetrators off the hook.

Abu_shabak Rashid Abu Shabak, the deputy head of the Preventive Security Services in Gaza, is one of two senior Palestinians wanted for their involvement in terror that Sharon has agreed to remove from Israel’s list of wanted suspects as a “gesture” to the Palestinians.

Media reports at the time indicated that Abu Shabak was caught on tape discussing the bus bombing with his boss, Mohammad Dahlan – before it had actually happened. Abu Shabak is also said to have personally supervised the preparation of the bomb used in the attack, while people under him were involved in the planning and implementation of the assault (Ha'aretz, November 23, 2000).

Two Israeli school teachers were killed in the bus bombing, which took place near Kfar Darom, and three young children from the same family all lost limbs as a result of the blast. One of the other 6 victims injured in the attack was an American citizen.

Abu Shabak is also said to have been involved in the past in handing out mortar shells to terrorists in Gaza to fire at Israeli communities (Israel Radio, April 21, 2001), and was accused by Sharon’s own spokesman, Raanan Gissin, as being behind an effort to build a factory in Gaza that would produce nitric acid, a key ingredient used in making heavy-duty explosives (Associated Press, November 25, 2002).

Say what you will about the peace process, or making concessions to the Palestinians – but when it comes to basic issues of morality and justice, there can not possibly be any compromises.

To let a vile thug like Rashid Abu Shabak go unpunished is simply unthinkable. His entire career has been devoted to violence, murder and mayhem. That Ariel Sharon would choose to give Abu Shabak a “free pass”, rather than a small cell with bars on the windows, is an outrage, pure and simple.

Sadly, this is probably just a taste of things to come. Nonetheless, we can not let our leadership deceive us into thinking that such “gestures” are necessary or even desirable – for as it should be clear by now, any process built on a foundation of immorality can not, and will not, endure.