Report: Gov't not pursuing Hebron killers

Channel 2: Olmert approved transfer of attackers to Jehicho so that PA would bring them to justice.

hebron terror 224.88 (photo credit: Reuven Tal/ ZAKA)
hebron terror 224.88
(photo credit: Reuven Tal/ ZAKA)
Israel has allowed the Palestinian Authority to move two terrorist suspects allegedly involved in the killing of two off duty soldiers in the Hebron Hills last month to a PA prison in Jericho, and have not yet decided whether to demand their extradition. The two were allegedly involved in the murder of Pvt. Ahikam Amihai (20) and Sgt. David Rubin (21). The victims, both members of elite IDF units, managed to fire back at their attackers, killing one of them and seriously wounding another. In a response to a petition to the High Court of Justice brought by the Almagor Terror Victims Association, the State said that the Prime Minister, in line with a recommendation from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), allowed the transfer of the prisoners to Jericho "according to considerations and conditions agreed upon with them, which can't be made public." According to the state's response, an extradition request to the PA will be considered "dependent on the circumstances and the way the Palestinians are dealing with the issue." In a veiled threat that the PA should keep the suspects under lock and key, sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday night that Israel reserved the right to "deal with the issue" if the Palestinians did not fulfill what was agreed upon. A Channel 2 report said the families of the victims were enraged by the decision, saying that their sons fought the terrorists, but the government was letting them go. The report also quoted IDF sources as saying they badly wanted to bring the suspects to justice in Israel to send a message that those who attack IDF fighters cannot be given refuge in the PA. Yehuda Amihai, father of Ahikam, told Channel 2 that "the IDF could have immediately, the day after the attack, arrested those murderers and brought them to justice in Israel, but they said the decision was a political one." Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu called for the immediate extradition of the murderers and criticized Olmert for not doing so. "The Olmert-Barak government's embarrassing acquiescence to concede on the extradition of the top PA officials who murdered Ahikam Amichai and David Rubin is further proof of the government's weakness and its lack of national respect," Netanyahu said. Gil Hoffman contributed to this article.