Israel files UN complaint over PA praise of terrorist

Mohammed Aazi, planner of Tel Aviv bombing that injured 29, died last week in battle with IDF; Abbas calls him ‘dear son’

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

IDF soldiers carry away the body of armed Palestinian terror suspect Mohamed Aazi near the West Bank village of Bil'in, near Ramallah October 22, 2013.  (Photo credit: Issam Rimawi /FLASH90)
IDF soldiers carry away the body of armed Palestinian terror suspect Mohamed Aazi near the West Bank village of Bil'in, near Ramallah October 22, 2013. (Photo credit: Issam Rimawi /FLASH90)

‏Israel’s ambassador to the UN lodged a complaint with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday over a condolence letter sent by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the family of a terrorist killed by Israeli forces.

The IDF said Mohamed Aazi was among the planners of the bombing on the No. 142 bus in central Tel Aviv during Operation Pillar of Defense as the bus drove near the Kirya, the Israeli military’s headquarters.

“When we talk about the troubling rise of incitement and its effects on the hearts and minds of young Palestinians,” wrote Ambassador Ron Prosor, “there cannot be a more outrageous example than an incident that occurred last week. At the heart of this incident is Mohamed Assi, a terrorist responsible for the November 2012 bus bomb explosion that injured 29 civilians in the center of Tel Aviv.”

Aazi was killed in an early morning clash with Israeli special forces, not far from the village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah in the West Bank, last Tuesday. The last of those alleged to have planned the bombing still on the loose, Aazi, 28, had been in hiding and was planning another attack against Israeli civilians or army forces, Israeli sources said.

After the incident, Abbas called Aazi a “dear son,” according to a copy of the letter cited by Prosor. Prosor called the move “amazing, astonishing, and outrageous.”

“With great pain we received the news of the martyr’s death of the dear son, the late fighter Mohamed Assi, who was murdered by the killing gangs of the Occupation Army in cold blood,” Prosor quotes Abbas’s letter. “We express to all of you and to his distinguished family our sincere condolences on his passing and stress to you that the Occupation’s crimes will not frighten our people, and that the blood of all the martyrs will not be spilled in vain.”

Prosor called the letter the latest example of “the incitement poisoning the next generation.”

“Terrorism does not begin with an attack on a bus or a café,” Prosor wrote. “That is how terrorism ends. Terrorism begins when its perpetrators are indoctrinated with words and thoughts of hate.”

He urged Ban to condemn Palestinian incitement against Israelis, and to have the letter distributed as an official Security Council document.

On Tuesday, the UN’s Human Rights Council, including Iran and Syria, rapped Israel’s human rights record in its quadrennial review before the 47-nation body.

The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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