Israeli minister’s assassin honored by Paris suburb

Majdi Rimawi, in jail for killing of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, is the first honorary citizen of the town of Bezons

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Slain tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, assassinated by the PFLP in 2001. (Flash90)
Slain tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, assassinated by the PFLP in 2001. (Flash90)

A suburb of Paris has granted honorary citizenship to the Palestinian assassin of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, Palestinian media reported recently.

The city of Bezons, located 10 miles northwest of Paris, honored Majdi Rimawi on February 13, calling him a “victim of the occupation.” Rimawi, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is serving a life sentence for the 2002 assassination.

Rimawi, 48, commanded and dispatched the two-man team which shot dead the Israeli minister on October 17, 2001 in Jerusalem’s Hyatt hotel. He was also involved in arming and dispatching a terrorist team which booby trapped two cars in the city of Yehud, near Tel Aviv, in July 2001, injuring six Israelis.

Bezons, home to some 27,000 people, twinned with Rimawi’s town of Bani Zeid Al-Gharbiyya in 2008.

“This is a strong political act,” said mayor Dominique Lesparre at the honorary citizenship ceremony, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which wrote about the event. “It is an unequivocal [statement] concerning the [Israeli] colonization of the Palestinian people.”

Rimawi’s wife also attended the ceremony.

In an article dedicated to the event in Bezons’ city bulletin, Rimawi’s crime was not mentioned.

“Majdi Al-Rimawi has been locked up for more than ten years in an Israeli jail. His crime? defending his city and its inhabitants; demanding the application of international law by giving Palestine back its 1967 borders and recognizing East Jerusalem as its capital as recognized by the UN. For this he was sentenced to life plus 80 years in prison,” the bulletin noted.

Last October the municipality of Paris signed a cooperation agreement with the Palestinian district of Jerusalem, recognizing “East Jerusalem” as a distinct entity for the first time.

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