January 3rd, 2014

Adapted from Telem Yahav, p. 14, Yediot Aharonot, Dec. 24, 2013

Editor’s comment: This transcript was released at a sensitive time in which Israel is now freeing a third group of convicted terrorists as a concession toward the peace talks orchestrated by John Kerry. Many Israelis—especially family and friends of terrorist victims—recently demonstrated against this concession. We share this here to give you an appreciation of the emotional turmoil in Israeli society that accompanies such policy decisions.

A Wrong Turn

On October 12, 2000 two Israeli reservists, Yosi Abrahami and Vadim Norzits, were driving in their red Ford Fiesta, made a wrong turn in the territories and ended up in Ramallah. Palestinian policeman, Raad A-sheikh, led them inside to the second floor of the Ramallah police station. A crowd gathered outside. The courtroom transcripts of what happened next were just released this week after 13 years of judicial delays. A-sheikh stated,

“I took a 25 centimeter iron pipe. I hit the Russian soldier (Norzits) on the head with the pipe until he fell and began to make gurgling sounds from his throat.”

Another Palestinian policeman, Tarek Tabash, told investigators,

“I saw one of the soldiers lying on the floor with his face to the ground, crying and speaking words in Hebrew I couldn’t understand. I hit him on the back three times with my wooden baton.”

Blood Lust

Abed al Aziz Tsalhah, a young Palestinian resident in the crowd outside, climbed up and entered the room. Tsalhah said,

“All of us were in a frenzy to see blood. I saw the Israeli soldier lying on the floor face down with a knife stuck in his upper back on the right side. I pulled out the knife and stabbed him another 2 or 3 times, and then left the knife stuck in his back. Others in the room began to kick him. After I stabbed him I put one hand on his mouth and another on his shoulder to try to choke him. I saw that my hands were all bloody, so I went to the window and waved my hands to the men in the courtyard.”

The bloody hands of Tsalhah became a symbol of the “Ramallah Lynch,” engraved in the collective memory of every Israeli, even today. The ripped apart bodies of the two reservists were thrown from the window out into the streets. Tsalhah served 10 years in jail for the murder and was RELEASED 3 years ago as part of the exchange to free Gilad Shalit. The case in the Palestinian courts has never been brought to conclusion.

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