Daily Israel Report

Freed Terrorist Killed American Citizen, US 'Concerned'

State Department opposed release of terrorist who murdered former U.S. Marine in Israel. A7 posted his story before release.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/18/2013, 1:21 PM

Abbas welcomes freed terrorists
Abbas welcomes freed terrorists
Reuters

Israel’s decision to release terrorist prisoners as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority led some Israeli MKs to criticize the United States for allegedly pushing the release. MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) even wrote a strongly critical letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in which she accused him of “forcing Israel to capitulate to terrorism.”

Arutz Sheva posted an article by David Bedein on Monday, August 12 - before the prisoner release - that exposed the fact that terror victim Frederick Rosenfeld, whose murderer was to be released, was an American citizen, and told the tragic story.

It appears that afterwards, the U.S. actually opposed the prisoner release in that one case.  According to The Daily Beast, the U.S. State Department expressed concern over the release of Al-Haaj Othman Amar Mustafa – but Israel decided to free him anyway.

Mustafa murdered Frederick Steven Rosenfeld, who was a U.S. citizen and a former U.S. Marine.

He and other attackers ambushed Rosenfeld, attacking him from behind after pretending to befriend him as he walked near his home in the town of Ariel, in Samaria (Shomron), in 1989. The three stabbed Rosenfeld and left him to die.

A State Department spokesperson told The Daily Beast, “The State Department conveyed the administration’s concerns regarding the release of this prisoner to the government of Israel, while recognizing the victim was a dual national of Israel and the United States.”

The Israeli side “acknowledged our views, but it was ultimately their decision to determine which prisoners to release. This is a very difficult situation for all involved, and further highlights the importance of making these negotiations successful,” she added.

Mustafa, along with other terrorist killers freed last Tuesday night, was welcomed as a hero upon his release.

The decision to release terrorists was made following meetings between Kerry and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu aimed at getting Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table.

Abbas had agreed to negotiate with previous Israeli prime ministers without preconditions, but under Netanyahu’s administration began demanding a full ban on Israeli construction east of the 1949 armistice line – a region home to over 500,000 Israeli citizens – before talks could begin. Netanyahu was reluctant to agree to a construction freeze after a previous building freeze which exacerbated Israel’s housing crisis and failed to yield productive talks with the PA.

Abbas agreed to meet with Netanyahu only when the building freeze was nearly over, then ended talks shortly afterward when the freeze ended.