Jerusalem – On Tuesday, the IDF battle against Hamas’ and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s efforts to dispatch a terror attack from Nablus took the life of Staff Sgt. Ben Tziyon Heneman, 22, from Moshav Nov in the Golan Heights, who was killed in a short range encounter with an armed terrorist in the alleys of the United Nations UNRWA Beit Ilma refugee camp, northwest of the city. An Israeli army senior Central Command officer noted that Heneman, a veteran soldier in the elite Paratroopers Brigade, belonged to the most veteran team in the unit, and was supposed to be released from active duty in about three weeks to go on leave before being discharged at the beginning of November.
Heneman was the 10th soldier from the Paratroopers Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion who was injured this past year in operations in Nablus. The Samaria Brigade, by means of the reconnaissance battalion and other units, has recently been focusing its operations on various neighborhoods and areas in Nablus against terrorist cells in the city.
This time, a large force from the Israeli Paratroopers Brigade reconnaissance Battalion and the Haruv battalion entered Ein Beit Ilma to arrest wanted men from a joint Hamas-Popular Front cell.
The Israeli Samaria Army Division Commander Brig. Gen. Noam Tibon said on Tuesday in a debriefing that the entry into Nablus was conducted after there were warnings about plans by a joint Hamas-Popular Front cell to carry out a large-scale combined terror attack on the Israeli home front.
At about 8:10 a.m., Heneman’s team moved along the alleys of the refugee camp and surrounded a house where, according to intelligence information, there were wanted men from the joint cell. Suddenly shots were fired from outside the house and Heneman, who was in the entrance of the building next to the target and wearing a ceramic vest, was shot in the hip. This vest usually protects the upper body of soldiers very well, but the bullet penetrated between the two vest plates, and entered Heneman’s body. Despite efforts by the unit’s doctor and his medical team to treat the injury and evacuate Heneman quickly to the helicopter pad, he died of his wounds in the field. The shots that were fired also killed a dog from the Oketz dog unit that was operating with the forces.
An exchanges of fire ensued, at the end of which the terrorist who killed Heneman was killed.
According to military sources, he was 17 years old, and a member of the PFLP, part of the terrorist cell that the IDF had come to arrest.
The soldiers from the veteran teams of the reconnaissance battalion, who were all drafted in November 2004 and served with Heneman almost three years, left Nablus to visit the home of Heneman’s parents in Moshav Nov and attend his funeral, which took place late on Tuesday the evening at the Hispin cemetery on the Golan Heights.
In another incident that took place later on Tuesday, another soldier from the Haruv battalion of the Kfir Brigade sustained light injuries.
The soldier was hit by a spray of bullets in an exchange of fire with terrorists, and was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
On Tuesday night, the Israeli army released data showing that Nablus continues to hold the dubious record of “terror capital” of Samaria. Since the beginning of 2007, there were 123 incidents of fire against IDF troops in the city, and during July and August, 28 bombs were activated against soldiers working to prevent terrorists from reaching the Israeli home front. Last week, for example, at the Beit Iba roadblock west of the city, a Palestinian youth, who was trying to smuggle a bomb to be used by a terrorist in Tel Aviv, was arrested.
U.S. Officials Mum On Palestinian Praise Of Attacks On The U.S.
Last week, PMW, Palestine Media Watch, uncovered the fact that that the official newspapers of the Palestinian Authority, which operate at the behest of Palestinian Authority leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salman Fayyad, ran lead articles in their papers last week which praised and celebrated the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Surprisingly, there was no U.S. government reaction to this.
On Tuesday, Jerusalem investigative reporter Arlene Kushner contacted Stewart Tuttle, spokesman at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, with regard to the celebration of 9/11 in the official PA media. Tuttle responded that the Embassy deals only with relations with Israel and that Kushner should contact the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.
This she did. Kushner spoke with Christina Higgins, information officer of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, who said that she knew nothing of what Kushner was talking about and had no comment. Kushner then sent Higgins the press clippings from the PA media to show where and how the official PA newspapers had praised the 9/11 attack.
Yesterday, Kushner called back to the U.S. Consulate a second time, and said to Higgins that she was bewildered that the U.S. Consulate, which monitors the Palestinian Authority for the American government, did not know about the 9/11 celebration in the PA media. Kushner asked if the consulate monitors PA media. Higgins said yes, and that there was a review of the PA newspapers put out every morning. Higgins said again that she had seen nothing about the celebration of 9/11 and thanked Kushner for the information that she had sent her, however.
Kushner responded that it is important that she read it, absorb the implications of what it says, and share it not only with her superiors, but also with visiting U.S. Secretary Condoleezza Rice, since Abbas is making demands on the U.S., and that, at a minimum, the U.S. should hold Abbas accountable for incitement against the U.S. in media he controls and demand that it stop.
Higgins responded that the secretary of state is thoroughly briefed for her meeting with Abbas. The question remains, however, if the people who brief Rice ever mentioned the anti-U.S. incitement in the official Palestinian Authority media.
Meanwhile, The Bulletin asked for comment on the PA celebration of the 9/11 attack in its official media from U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones and visiting U.S. Secretary Rice.
No answer was forthcoming.
International Conference Jitters
In anticipation of Palestinian talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rice today, Palestinian sources told Israel Army Radio that they believe that the international conference in Washington will not be held in November as planned. The official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat reported yesterday that PA Chairman Abbas will ask Secretary of State Rice not to set a date for the conference before an agreement is reached on a draft of a permanent status arrangement between Israel and Palestinians.
All sources indicate that Abbas is not enthusiastic about the conference.
Abbas has held talks with the Saudis, who reportedly agreed with him on the matter, and said that they stipulate their participation in the conference on the formulation of a serious agreement.
At a preparatory meeting at the Israeli security cabinet, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said she doubted the ability of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation teams to come to an agreement at any time in the near future.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007