MK Avigdor Liberman, the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, on Sunday said that the weekend murder of 20-year-old Bat Yam native Sgt. Tomer Hazan at the hands of a Palestinian acquaintance in the West Bank proves that the Palestinian Authority has “no desire or intention” of making peace with Israel.
“The killer, Nidal Amar, is from a familyknown to be affiliated with Fatah, and, a few months ago, Palestinian television broadcast a sympathetic piece about the terrorist brother of the murderer, whom he wanted to release from Israeli prison in exchange for a kidnapped soldier,” Liberman wrote in a statement, adding that the family kept photos of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former PA leader Yasser Arafat.
The Amar family’s background and “the fact that the PA and its senior members did not clearly condemn the murder again proves that the current negotiation between the Palestinians and Israel is for them a tactical maneuver” designed to improve the international standing of the Palestinians, Liberman wrote. The PA, he said, has “no intention of reaching a true agreement with Israel, and continues to encourage and support the murder of Israelis.”
Hazan was lured on Friday to the village of Beit Amin, south of Qalqilya, by Amar, a 42-year-old Palestinian resident of the village. Amar, who worked illegally at an Israeli restaurant in Bat Yam where Hazan also worked part-time, killed the Israeli in an open field and threw his body into a well. He had intended to seek to trade the corpse for the release of his brother, a terrorist jailed by Israel.
Amar was arrested and confessed to killing Hazan, the Shin Bet security service said.
Amar’s family on Sunday expressed surprise at his actions, saying he was opposed to violence.
“He was a quiet, civilized, understanding person” who wasn’t violent, Nijat Khourmata, his wife, told Ynet. “He never told us about his plans… he hasn’t lived here for two years.”
One of his daughters said “the only problem with my father was the financial issue… I never expected him to do such a thing. He would always say he was against these things.”
Hazan’s girlfriend alleged that Amar had attempted to lure other Israelis to the territories in the past.
Apparently Nidal planned this for a very long time,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Army Radio Sunday. “He didn’t mark out Tomer immediately. He tried to abduct other people first, but it seems that Tomer was taken in because he’s naive.”
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Saturday that the murder served as a warning for Israel that it cannot rely on foreign entities with regard to its own security.
“The murder of the soldier Tomer Hazan is a terrible reminder that every day Israel is dealing with murderous, animal-like terrorists,” Lapid wrote on his Facebook page.
“We should not abandon the security of Israel to anyone except ourselves.”
Economics Minister and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett echoed Lapid’s statements, but added that Israel should be wary of conducting peace talks with the Palestinians.
“You do not make peace with a terrorist who throws soldiers into a pit,” Bennett said. “You cannot do anything with them except fight them without mercy.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely also condemned the murder of the soldier and said that such acts proved that Israel’s freeing of terrorists — as part of the arrangements for this summer’s resumption of peace talks — was a mistake.
“The rationale behind the murder of the soldier is tragic proof that the release of terrorists is wrong,” Hotovely said.
“The Palestinian masses now believe that the kidnapping of soldiers or bodies is an effective means to negotiate with Israel on the release of murderers,” she added.