Sharon to Pardon PA Official Who Planned School Bus Bombing
Arutz-7 News: Thursday, January 27, 2005
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is poised to pardon two
PA officials with proven ties to terrorism, including one of the planners of
the fatal November 2000 bombing of an Israeli school bus.
Rashid Abu Shabak, second-in-command of the PA Preventive
Security Services in Gaza, is one of two senior PA officials wanted for
their involvement in terror attacks whom PM Sharon has reportedly agreed to
remove from Israel's list of wanted terrorists. The other terrorist leader
to be pardoned will be Tawfiq Tirawi. This will be a "good-will gesture"
toward Abu Mazen and the PA.
The gestures will apparently take place independently of
the mired diplomatic process. PA chief Abu Mazen called on Israel this
afternoon to agree to a mutual ceasefire involving all the terror
organizations. A newspaper in Qatar reported today that Abu Mazen agrees to
Sharon's plan of establishing a temporary PA state on 42% of Judea, Samaria
and Gaza, and of pushing off final-status talks for a later date.
The two terrorists to be pardoned have far-ranging
terrorist experience. Israel possesses a tape of Abu Shabak discussing plans
for the bombing of the school bus with the mastermind of the attack,
Preventative Security Service chief Mohammad Dahlan. Abu Shabak also oversaw
and coordinated the preparation of the bomb used in the attack.
The attack on the school bus killed two Israeli teachers
and seriously wounded three young children from the Cohen family of nearby
Kfar Darom; all three children lost part of their legs.
As early as April 1997, Abu Shabak sent suicide bombers to
target two school buses outside the Netzarim and Kfar Darom communities.
Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak identified the actual bombers
as police officers under the direct command of Dahlan and Abu Shabak.
One month before the Kfar Darom school bus attack, a
busload of 40 Israeli women and children was also attacked by terrorists
near the Gush Katif junction in Gaza, just as it passed by a PA police
station. Israeli intelligence concluded that Dahlan and Abu Shabak were
behind that attack as well.
In addition to bus bombings, Abu Shabak has also been
spotted distributing mortar shells to Gaza terrorists to be fired at Israeli
towns. Israel also accuses him of being behind efforts to build a factory in
Gaza to produce large amounts of nitric acid for use in explosives
The other official to be taken off the most-wanted list is
Tawfik Tirawi, who was "directly involved in organizing attacks, providing
financial aid to operatives involved in terrorist attacks and preparing them
to carry out the attacks," according to government sources. Tirawi's ties to
terrorist activities have also been documented extensively and even appear
on the Israeli Foreign Ministry's web site.
The pardoning of the two wanted terror chieftains comes as
part of a series of unilateral Israeli good-will gestures, including a
commitment to end targeted killing of terrorists and the deployment of armed
PA police across Gaza. It was reported today that the PA's deployment in
southern Gaza, near Gush Katif, was being held up for technical reasons; the
required number of para-military policemen has apparently not yet been