teitels weapons cache 248.88.
(photo credit: Shin Bet Israel Security Agency)
The families of the two Palestinians who were allegedly killed by Ya'acov Teitel, the 37-year-old who was arrested by the Shin Bet for his role in a series of hate crimes over the past 12 years, said on Monday that they had no doubt from the beginning that the culprit was a "extremist Jew."
Expressing relief over Teitel's arrest, the families said they believed he was finally caught "only because he started targeting Jews."
One of the victims was Samir Balbisi, a taxi driver from east Jerusalem. His brother, Hani, said that "it was clear to the family from the beginning that Samir was murdered by an extremist Jewish settler."
He said that his brother did not have any enemies and was studying civil engineering at Ort College in Jerusalem."He studied during the day and worked as a taxi driver during the night," his brother said. "He had only one year left to complete his studies and fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer."
Hani said that he named one of his sons after his brother to keep his memory alive. "I hope that my son will one day also become an engineer like his uncle," he said. "We were very proud of Samir because he was a hard worker."
The brother said he learned about the arrest of Teitel when he was recently summoned to the Jerusalem Police, where an officer told him about the development.
"We were not surprised at all when the police told us that my brother had been murdered by a Jewish settler," he added. "Samir was one of thousands of Palestinian martyrs and as such his case is not unique."
The second victim was identified as Issa Makhamreh, a shepherd from the tiny village of Khirbet al-Dirat near the town of Yatta in the Hebron area.
According to his eldest son, Ayed, his family too was not surprised when they heard that a Jewish settler had been arrested on suspicion of murdering his father.
"From day one we told the police interrogators that my father was murdered by extremist Jewish settlers," the son said. "I think back then they didn't believe us. We still don't understand why it took them 12 years to capture the murderer. When an Arab does something bad, the whole Israeli army is mobilized to arrest him immediately."
Ayed, too, said he believed Teitel would never have been caught if it weren't for his decision to target Jews also. "Once he began to attack Jews, the Israeli security forces became serious," he claimed. "We are convinced that if he hadn't attacked Jews this despicable murderer would never have been caught."
Ayed, who was 25 at the time of the murder, said that the victim's grandchildren still point at their grandfather's picture and tell visitors and neighbors that "Jews killed our grandpa." The two families expressed hope that Teitel would "spend the rest of his life in prison" so as to send a powerful message to other would-be terrorists.