Murderer to Martyr: Did Israel turn criminal into 'freedom fighter?'

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which often praise terrorist attacks against Israelis, have refrained from commenting on the case of Irfaiya.

February 14, 2019 19:39
2 minute read.
Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher's murderer, brought to court

Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher's murderer, brought to court. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Israel’s decision to label the murder of Ori Ansbacher as a terrorist attack will enable the family of her murderer, Arafat Irfaiya, to apply for financial aid from the Palestinian Authority or other Palestinian groups, a PA official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the February 7 rape and murder of Ansbacher in Jerusalem. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which often praise terrorist attacks against Israelis, have refrained from commenting on the case of Irfaiya.

The official criticized the Israeli decision and claimed that the PA does not believe that the rape and murder of Ansbacher was “nationalistically motivated.” The PA, he said, believes that this was a criminal murder.

Noting that Irfaiya was not affiliated with any Palestinian group, the official said that by labeling him as a terrorist, Israel has “turned a criminal into a freedom fighter.”

According to the official, Irfaiya’s family will now use the Israeli decision as an excuse to demand that he be added to the list of Palestinian security prisoners who are entitled to a monthly salary from the PA or any other Palestinian group.

“This will not happen,” the official told the Post. “As far as we’re concerned, this was not a nationalistically motivated attack, even if Irfaiya and Israel are trying to make it look like that.”

A source in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission in Ramallah said on Thursday that despite the Israeli announcement, his group will not endorse Irfaiya as a “security prisoner.” The source also expressed doubt that Palestinian security prisoners would “welcome” the suspected rapist and murderer. The commission, he added, does not accept the Israeli version that Irfaiya committed his crime out of a “nationalistic motivation.”

Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, a nongovernmental organization and media watchdog that studies Palestinian society, said the PA was facing an absurd “ethical dilemma” over the case of Irfaiya.

“The PA supports and pays a salary to anyone who is imprisoned for ‘fighting the occupation,’” Marcus noted. “This means that the PA pays a salary to anyone who murders an Israeli in a terrorist attack from the day of his/her arrest, and that the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club provides legal representation to the terrorist in the Israeli court system. However, the PA considers rape a ‘criminal act’ and not a ‘nationalistic act,’ and therefore a rapist is not entitled to any support – legally or financially.”

Marcus, in a report titled “The gruesome Palestinian ‘ethical dilemma,’” said that if the PA recognizes the murderer as having acted out of nationalistic motivation, they will be paying him at least NIS 1,400 each month.

Qadoura Fares, director of the Prisoners’ Club, told Haaretz that Irfaiya’s family has not asked his group for any legal aid.

“If there will be such a request, we will consider it and send a defense lawyer to review his claims,” he said. “If it turns out there really was a sexual assault, we will pass on representation. That would make the case a criminal one, as far as we’re concerned, and we object to anyone committing a criminal offense trying to pass it off as a nationalistic act.”

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