On the evening before the long-planned March 17 meeting with his counterpart in the Palestine Authority, PA justice minister Abu Medein, Israel Minister of Justice Tzachi HaNegbi talked tough, declaring to a cheering Likud audience that anyone in the PA who advocated violence with be dealt with harshly.

HaNegbi pointed a finger at PA leader Yassir Arafat, saying that Israel could easily force him out of his villa in Gaza, back to his villa in Tunis. The reaction to HaNegbi was not long in coming. The PA denounced him in harsh terms, as did the Meretz and Labor party spokesmen.

Meanwhile, the meeting with Abu Medein did not come off as scheduled. The Israeli public perceived that HaNegbi had stood his ground and talked tough policy towards his Palestinian conuterparts.

Yet a somewhat different story remains to be told.

In an interview with Abu Medein on the day of the scheduled meeting, Abu Medein noted that the meeting had already been postponed last Thursday, March 14, the day before the Israel Ministry of Justice had issued a statement that the meeting was to take place.

Abu Medein, while indicating that formal meetings with Israeli officials had for the time being been postponed, also mentioned that on the matter of the “transfer of suspects” issue that there was no reason for a meeting, and that the Israeli government did indeed pass on names of susepcted murderers who had taken refuge in the areas administered by the Palestine authority for his consideration, even though Abu Medein expressed his policy that the PA would ever agree to hand over murder suspects to Israeli custody.

Meanwhile, in the list that the Israel Ministry of Justice did indeed hand over to the PA, HaNegbi did not add the names of the killers of Nachshon Wachsman, David Boim and Yaakov Yamin to the list, even though their families had held a well attended press conference on March 13 to demand that Hanegbi request the arrest of those who murdered their loved ones. Since the attack in Jordan overshadowed the press conference held by the Wachsmans, Boims and Yamins which occurred at the moment of the massacre, their appeal to the conscience of the Israeli public was not heard. All that these families asked was that HaNegbi indeed act to demand the arrest of the Arabs who murdered their loved ones and escaped to the PA havens of refuge for killers.

Yet the Israeli public was kept in the dark on this matter – the more tragic and spectacular continuing news item of the massacre of seven Israeli school girls in Jordan and the condolence visit by King Hussein kept the issue off the news, providing HaNegbi with the cover that he needed.

Meanwhile, HaNegbi has declared on numerous occaisions that if and when the PA refuses to hand over killers who have escaped to the areas under their jurisdiction, then he will resign. Instead, HaNegbi’s protege, Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, declared at the joint news conference with King Hussein on Sunday night March 16th that the policy of his administration is that if there are PLO violations of the accord, no matter what they are, they will not stop the progress of the Oslo process.

Most people in Israel assume that HaNegbi has issued an ultimatum to the Palestine Authority to arrest any killer who has taken refuge in the areas under their control.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When Joyce Boim met with HaNegbi on Thursday March 13 to discuss her longstanding request to have the Israeli government demand the arrest of her son’s admitted murderer, HaNegbi shrugged his shoulders and murmured that he didn’t know abotu it. This, despite months of calls, consultations and letters, let alone HaNegbi’s fire and brimstone speeches

On the morning of March 17, I asked Hanegbi’s office for a reason as to why the three killers of Wachsman, Boim and Yamin were not on the list of killers that were handed over to the Palestine Authority. His spokeswoman called back in the evening with a unique response: The list was never handed over to Abu Medein because they had no meeting and therefore there is no list.

Except that the Israeli government faxxed the list to Abu-Medein. Tzachi HaNegbi forgets that there is telephone service between Jerusalem and Gaza and that Abu Medein picks up the phone.

So there you have it. HaNegbi shries gevalt and the PA gets away with murder.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.