Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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15 Sivan 5765 - June 22, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Palestinian Patient Planned to Blow Up Israeli Hospital

by Mordecai Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

A 21-year old who was seriously burned six months ago and had been granted a special medical pass on humanitarian grounds to receive treatment in an Israeli hospital was arrested on Monday with 10 kilograms of explosives hidden in her clothes as she was trying to travel through the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel. When discovered she tried to detonate her bomb on the spot, but with Heaven's help it did not go off.

Wafaa Samir Ibrahim Bass, a resident of Jabaliya, aroused the suspicion of the IDF soldiers at the Erez crossing. The biometric equipment and the soldiers' responsible behavior prevented a serious tragedy. After the alert she was taken for a special security check in a special reinforced concrete room. At first she protested that she had no weapons and that she was going for medical treatment. When she realized that the explosive belt on her body had been discovered, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it several times.

Wafaa stated in questioning that she had been dispatched as a suicide bomber by the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade infrastructure based in the northern Gaza Strip. She was using personal medical authorization documents, granted by Israel to allow her to receive medical treatment in Beer Sheva. Wafaa stated that she had been directed to carry out the suicide attack in a "noisy, crowded place" in the Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva.

Between December 2004 and January 2005 Wafaa was treated at Soroka Hospital for massive burns she received as a result of a gas tank explosion that occurred while she was cooking.

According to Ha'aretz, the Shin Bet had received a tip that Fatah was planning to send Wafaa on a suicide mission via one of the Gaza Strip crossings. Israel gave the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas detailed information about the plan, Shin Bet sources said, but the PA did nothing.

Colonel Avi Levy, the North Gaza brigade commander, said the suicide attempt was "a cynical exploitation of the humanitarian gestures Israel had made."

The head of the civil administration in the Gaza Strip, Colonel Yoav Mordechai, said, "The Palestinians are shooting themselves in the foot."

The BBC reported that in an interview, Ms. Bass first said that her "dream was to be a martyr. What angered me and the Palestinian people is the abuse of the Koran. Should we sit in silence with our hands tied?" She said that she hoped to murder as many youngsters as possible.

Later in the interview, she changed her story and claimed that she had been taken advantage of by Al-Aqsa Brigades and was a victim. She began crying and said she did not tell her mother of her plans and asked for forgiveness.

Later, in a separate interview with foreign correspondents, she said that the explosives had been planted on her without her knowledge while she was being treated at a Gaza Hospital. "I did not intend to carry out an attack," she said then.

Following allegations of the abuse of a Koran in Cuba by American interrogators, there were reports of similar abuse by Israeli guards at the Megiddo prison. After investigating the incident, Israeli authorities said that the story was made up under the inspiration of the American incident and nothing of the sort had transpired. One copy of the Koran was cut up by Arab prisoners for their own purposes, not for abuse.

Israeli military spokeswoman Maj Sharon Feingold said that Palestinian militants exploit humanitarian cases for their own ends. "These terror organizations are not only the enemies of the Israelis but also of the Palestinian people themselves, who suffer as a result of this abuse of the young, the sick, the wounded," she said.

There were several similar attempts by terrorist organizations to send terrorists to Israel from the Gaza Strip by exploiting those in need of medical treatment:

Hamed A-Karim Hamed Abu Lihiya, 23, a resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp, was arrested on December 20, 2004 by security forces. He was suspected of being part of Hamas and of planning to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Israel. He was brought through the Erez crossing in August 2004 using forged documents claiming that he was a cancer patient in need of medical treatment from an Israeli hospital.

Lihiya was to join an additional terrorist, after which the two would receive weaponry and carry out an attack with the help of terrorist aides inside Israel.

An additional attempt was thwarted in early December 2004 when Hassan Ahmed Ali Tom, a terrorist belonging to the Gaza- based and Fatah-affiliated El Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, was arrested by security forces. He had intended to infiltrate Israel and carry out terror attacks.

Hassan Tom crossed into Egypt through the Rafah crossing after presenting medical documents. Tom was arrested on December 12, 2004 after he infiltrated into the Negev from Egypt. During questioning he admitted that his intent had been to murder an Israeli citizen and bury his body in order to negotiations between Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel for the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli citizen. In addition, Tom intended to sabotage the train rails near Netanya.

A week before Tom's arrest, Mohammed Ja'arur was arrested at the Rafah crossing as he attempted to cross into Egypt. In his questioning Ja'arur stated that he planned to join Tom to infiltrate Israel and carry out the terror attacks.

In a joint operation conducted in Ramallah on March 10, 2005, IDF forces and the ISA arrested Hamas terrorist Machmad Bachitsi, a resident of Gaza, who had received permission to leave Gaza by claiming to be a kidney donor. In fact he planned to carry out a suicide bombing inside Israel. Bachitsi admitted that he had been drafted by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that, as part of his preparations, he underwent military training.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, called upon the Palestinian society and its leaders to strongly condemn the use of patients for violent purposes. It also called upon Israel not to impose "collective punishment" for the incident.

According to Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, "civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict." Thus sending a terrorist to bomb a hospital is a war crime. Bombing any group of civilians is a war crime. Using a patient to act as a bomber is also a war crime.


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