Friday, February 25, 2005

Like a bad penny.
You remember Jihad Ja’ara, don’t you? He was one of the main ‘heroes’ of the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity siege in 2002. Not greatly loved by local Christians at the time according to an article that appeared in the Washington Times in May 2002:

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Residents of this biblical city are expressing relief at the exile to Cyprus last week of 13 hard-core Palestinian militants, who they said had imposed a two-year reign of terror that included rape, extortion and executions.


Palestinians who live near the church described the group as a criminal gang that preyed especially on Palestinian Christians, demanding "protection money" from the main businesses, which make and sell religious artifacts.

According to Bethlehem residents, one of the group's top leaders, Jihad Ja'ara, 29, traveled around town with an M-16 rifle, terrorizing the community.


Residents also said that Mr. Ja'ara and another top leader, Ibrahim Abayat, took nine Muslims whom they suspected of collaborating with Israel into an apartment near Manger Square and fatally shot them.

Ja’ara ended up living the life of Reilly near Dublin with Rami Kamel. They managed to grumble about this.

The exiles live an hour outside Dublin in an isolated village cut off from Ireland's tiny Arab community. They spend their days practicing conversational English, watching television and cooking meals.

"We are in exile, an isolated exile," Jaara said. They rarely go out. This has been a cold and miserable summer, even by Irish standards. They would like to buy warm clothes, but they say the 118 euros they get each week from the government are barely enough to live on.

Jaara said the only luxuries they allow themselves are occasional telephone calls to their families in the West Bank - and to the other exiles. He said the government promised to grant his wife and four children temporary visas, but he can't afford the expense of a visit.

So sad.

We next heard of Rami Kamel last year, when he found love in exile. Naturally, we were touched.

Not wanting to spoil their marital bliss Ja’ara left the love birds' nest to wander the streets, unchecked and unmonitored by Irish authorities. I remember commenting on this at the time, but I can’t find it now.

It was round about this time that Ja’ara’s nephew attained the exulted state of after-life martyrdom by blowing himself up on an Israeli bus, killing 10 people and injuring 50 others. Ja’ara wasn’t allowed to attend his nephew’s funeral. Heartbreaking.

And now he’s back to his old tricks, even though there are negotiations to bring the ‘Church of the Nativity exiles’ back, seeing as how peace has broken out.

Yesterday a Tanzim activist from Tulkarem by the name of Salam Buakana (Abu al-Id) from Tul Karem was indicted for planning to carry out terrorist attacks. According to the indictment, Abu al-Id contacted Jihad Ja’ara in Ireland, requesting his assistance in planning and funding the attacks.

Ja’ara promised to help and contacted Kais Ubaid, who you’ll remember as the former Arab Israeli who is Hizbullah’s coordinator for the territories and the man behind the abduction of Elhanan Tenenbaum. According to Maariv

They decided that Ubaid would fund the terrorist cell and Ja’ara would be operations officer, deciding on the targets and timetable for carrying out the terrorist attacks.

Ubaid sent money from Lebanon, with which the cell bought a car and booby trapped it. On 8th September 2004, at lunchtime, the car bomb was detonated next to a military patrol near Baqa al-Sharqia in Samaria. It only caused light injuries to the people in the patrol, but the armored jeep was badly damaged. Immediately after the event al-Id called Ja’ara and Ubaid, reporting that the mission had been accomplished, and asking for permission to take responsibility in the name of the al-Aqza Martyrs Brigade, in revenge for the death of one of their activists. Soon afterwards, Ubaid sent another $2500 for further terrorist actions.

The indictment … details a further long list of (similar) terrorist attacks perpetrated by the cell under the instruction of Ja’ara and Ubaid ...


A short while before the arrest the cell was planning, instructed by Ja’ara and Ubaid, to perpetrate an attack on a synagogue full of worshippers, in a way reminiscent of Baruch Goldstein’s massacre in the Cave of Machpela (in Hebron, 1994, if I am not mistaken - IJ). The indictment says that the explosive charge that Ubaid supplied was intended “for the perpetration of a terrorist attack in a synagogue … with the help of an Israeli Arab”. Ja’ara instructed the members of the cell to find a synagogue that would be hard to approach for rescue forces. The arrest of the eleven members of the cell prevented the massacre.

(My humble translation)

I couldn’t find a link to this story so I’ve scanned the article that was in yesterday’s Maariv. It’s in Hebrew. If that’s no problem for you, you can read it here.