Palestinian Authority Secures Release And Awards Large Sum Of Money To Killer Of Two Israeli Hikers

isa-abd-rabo-20102The Palestinian Authority embraced a curious hero this week among those released as part of an agreement with Israel. Issa Abed Rabbo was the longest serving prisoner of the 104 released this week. Rabbo, 49, was heralded as a hero and given a pension and a large sum of money by the PA. However, Rabbo was convicted of taking two young hikers, binding them, putting bags over their heads, and then shooting them to death in 1984. That is not the makings of any freedom fighter that I know of.


Whatever the specific amount may be for Rabbo’s payout, I remain perplexed by the PA embracing him as a hero or seeking his release. Accounts indicate that his brother had been killed by Israeli forces but that does not give him the right to kill a young couple on some hiking trail. His family insists that they were soldiers but no news account supports that claim. Indeed, some sites supporting Rabbo do not even mention his murders. One such site says “He was arrested on 20 October 1984 on charges of belonging to the Fatah movement and resisting the occupation, receiving a sentence of life imprisonment.”

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The two hikers were a boyfriend and girlfriend who took a trail outside of Jerusalem and ran into Rabbo. Revital Seri, 22, and Ron Levy, 23, were executed by him. Now, according to reports, he will received $50,000 that is standard for such prisoners in addition to another $60,000 plus the full costs of his upcoming wedding.

I would be interested if someone could share additional information that contradicts these public accounts. If Rabbo killed two young hikers, I am mystified why he is free let alone honored in this way. I have been highly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Yet, Rabbo’s crime should hardly be the subject of celebration for any civilized people.

The story of Rabbo’s reception follows a story of how sports teams have been named as suicide bombers. One such soccer team is named after Dalal Mughrabi, a female suicide bomber responsible for the hijacking of a public bus that resulted in the deaths of 37 civilians, including 12 children. While the Israelis say that Mughrabi blew up the bus with a hand grenade and the Palestinians claim that it was actually destroyed by the Israelis, she still led an operation that took a huge number of hostages as human shields. They also early on killed an unarmed American photographer named Gail Rubin. Yet the Palestinian authority has named squares and erected statues in her honor.

Obviously, these celebrations have to be viewed through decades of cruel conditions and even greater numbers of dead Palestinians during this ongoing conflict. However, international law is premised on the belief that even in war there are rules and civilians are not targets in any just war.

This has long been a point of division with Palestinian leadership which insisted that Israel routinely kills civilians and that such operations are only returning such war in kind. That has never satisfied most civil libertarians and ironically has never worked for the Palestinians. Indeed, the greatest success of the Palestinians has come with diplomatic measures after the end of the public support of the PLO for terrorist operations. These celebrations however pushed the Palestinians farther away from the international civil liberties community.

29 thoughts on “Palestinian Authority Secures Release And Awards Large Sum Of Money To Killer Of Two Israeli Hikers

  1. If in fact this man killed these two hikers in cold blood which the descrition of his actions would certainly suppor, his actions are murder and he is a murderer. I am fed up with excuses for brutality period.

  2. The problem with any armed struggle is that psychopaths get pushed to the fore. This is true of Israelis as well as the Palestinians. One has to remember that Israel elected the man, Begin, who ordered the murder of UN leader Count Bernadotte. The Israelis are just as guilty of rewarding cold blooded murderers such as Sharon with high office. Unfortunately our media does not give the same coverage to Israeli atrocities as it does to Palestinians. If it were more evenhanded, then it would act as a brake on such murderers and rewarding them. What is being asked is for the Palestinians to be better than the Israelis. That has not worked out for them so far either. So I am loath to join in the condemnation of the PA, though I hate the idea of this creature getting a reward. IF all of us will agree to condemn Israeli murderers and have them purge themselves of such people, THEN I will join in this chorus.

  3. It’s not a simply issue. Is killing innocent civilians up close with a firearm morally inferior to killing them with a fighter-bomber or drone?

    All nations celebrate their ‘victories’, ‘battles’, and ‘wars’. Although in actual fact these are often very seedy, corrupt, and vicious. It is no good pretending that the Palestinians are different in that they celebrate as a ‘hero’ someone who was merely violent.

    Sports teams are often named for nasty people, or even nasty animals. The New England ‘Patriots’ are named after a group that butchered large numbers of innocent civilians (so much so that they gave us a new word: ‘lynch’).

    I don’t support the Palestinian Authority. But this is a pattern that is common in our media and politics. _Their_ violence is uniquely evil while _our_ violence is uniquely virtuous.

  4. They hate each other. I don’t see that ever changing. So, anything like this is no surprise. Why he was released is curious.

  5. Palestinian Authority Secures Release And Awards Large Sum Of Money To Killer To Two Israeli Hikers……

    Maybe the title should be changed to this…… Or some variant….

    “Palestinian Authority Secures Release And Awards Large Sum Of Money To Killer That Slaughtered Two Israeli Hikers”

  6. Dan wrote: “It is no good pretending that the Palestinians are different in that they celebrate as a ‘hero’ someone who was merely violent.”

    What? Someone who was “merely violent”?

    You are attempting to use a fallacious equality meme. Using violence to put down evil is good. Using violence to kill innocent hikers is evil.

  7. “It’s not a simply issue. Is killing innocent civilians up close with a firearm morally inferior to killing them with a fighter-bomber or drone?”

    Well, if the fighter-bomber pilot is aiming at the innocent civilians then no, there is no moral difference. But why would military personnel with a mission waste ammunition on innocent civilians.

    Whether firearms or fighter-bombers it would seem that reasonable people should consider intention and the information available to the perpetrator to distinguish culpability for killing.

    One reason we should choose war as the last resort is the possibility of unintended death.

    But, Some homicides are murder while some are accidents. And even in time of war we should clearly distinguish the two.

  8. i agree with justice holmes, dredd and randyjet.

    @ Bruce sorry to burst your bubble those were israelis dressed like and pretending to be palestinians. that lie was unfolded way back then.. just as the truth about it being israelis in the van on sept 10th 2001 that was arrested crossing the gw bridge you know the van with the mural of the towers being blown up a day before it happened? im sure i can find the articles for you again. if you require proof.. lame stream media did their damnest to get rid of those stories but far to many people read it and captured it before they had a chance to move them off the air waves..

    as for this guy if he killed 2 innocent hikers who wasn’t doing anything to anyone then he deserves to be where they are…. but by that same token we will never be sure if they were or weren’t doing anything.. since outside of valarie plame i’ve never known a spy or terrorist to be outed especially when killed in what they call the line of duty..

    Considering both sides (israelis and palestinians) are murderers of innocents neither side can even attempt to claim to be in the right about anything…..

  9. “You are attempting to use a fallacious equality meme. Using violence to put down evil is good. Using violence to kill innocent hikers is evil.”

    Well let’s consider the example I gave directly. The New England Patriots celebrate the lynching of so many loyalists that we got a new word. Is that the moral ‘good’ you speak of?

    ” Some homicides are murder while some are accidents. And even in time of war we should clearly distinguish the two.”

    How do we do this? In fact, it is purely sophistry. If Israeli air-raids kill 1000 civilians, is that morally equivalent to the killing up close of two civilians? Does the claim that the pilots were not _trying_ to kill civilians really change a moral evil to a moral good?

    There was a quote from the Algerian war. A journalist asked a rebel commander about a female suicide bomber. He said “Give us your fighter-bombers and you can have our women’s handbags”.

    The problem we are having is that the greater evil (killing many) is considered a ‘good’ while the lesser evil (killing few) is considered uniquely savage.

  10. David you are not making your point. In light of what the Israeli have been/ are still doing to the Palestinian and the US has done and is still doing around the world, let’s not be hypocritical here. Yes, a murderer is a murderer whether it is a US armyman an Israeli settler or a Palestinian. Let us though not go through that silly endeavor where we try to portray the Palestinians as especially violent or especially murderous or irrational in their rage. Just as we can “understand” the US preemptive wars and Israel’s paranoia in regards to the Holocaust, we must also understand the Palestinians’ rage at being oppressed and killed while being portrayed as the bad guys. You may not condone their rage, but it is understandable. So please, either be openly and adamantly biased, or acknowledge that there are circumstances in the lives of the Palestinian, some which we know, most we know not, that should make one pause before spraying them once again with the veneer of evil.

  11. Robin, right after the twin towers fell hundreds of Israelis immediately went and put on Palestinian costumes and started dancing the streets of Palestinian?, Go drink some more kool aid. I saw it on the news the same morning on 9/11

  12. Obviously, Bruce you saw those images that someone cared enough to beam to your tv. You, however, somehow did not see the images of Iranians in the streets holding signs offering moral support to the US on 911.
    To be frank with you if I am being blown up daily, and oppressed forever by a country whose ability to do just so is enabled by the mighty power of the United States, celebrating on 911 is the least I would do.
    The celebrating is a symptom, not a cause. Though the symptom might be most apparent, behind it is always a cause. So before we condemn the reaction (which we can legitimately do) let us look at the action that brought it about. Someone said in another thread: you cannot target someone then refuse them the right to retaliate, or give yourself the right to determine the extent of their reaction.

  13. “How do we do this? In fact, it is purely sophistry.”

    Part of the essential nature of being human is that we can never know with certainty. I don’t think that absolves us from making the effort to know the truth and to make reasonable judgments based on our best understanding.

    “Does the claim that the pilots were not _trying_ to kill civilians really change a moral evil to a moral good?”

    I am not sure I would characterize the act as moral good. But, yes, definitely, intention changes the moral nature of the act. Intention as it relates to culpability is embedded in our law and I dare say the law of many other societies.

    ““Give us your fighter-bombers and you can have our women’s handbags””

    The issue is not whether the weapon of war is a fighter-bomber or a suicide bomber. The moral issue is whether the target is a military resource or a civilian non combatant. To obscure that crucial fact is the highest form of immorality.

  14. “Yet, Rabbo’s crime should hardly be the subject of celebration for any civilized people.”

    Yep.

    However, as we see all the time, just sharing a common culture or a common nationality does not determine how civilized individuals (or subgroups) within that particular culture are in action. Not every Palestinian backs the PA. Not every Israeli backs the Likhud. Yet time and again both the PA and the Likhud as groups have taken actions that question not just their civility but their ethics in general as well as their sanity.

    “Barbarism” knows no boundaries, national or otherwise.

    Unless you are mentally ill, it’s a choice.

  15. “The problem we are having is that the greater evil (killing many) is considered a ‘good’ while the lesser evil (killing few) is considered uniquely savage.”

    That is the fallacy right there. I don’t think you can get at morality by simply counting bodies.

    Many societies, for centuries – if not millennium – have understood that the morality of killing is changed by the objective, the intention, by understanding.

    As far as I am concerned, one of the few real advances we have made in our understanding of war is to distinguish the military from civilian non combatants.

    To obscure that difference is to throw away one of the most significant steps we have taken away from barbarism.

    Those who argue that the target and the intention make no difference might consider who has the most to lose if they are successful and the distinction is erased. My guess is that those who are militarily weak, with their civilian populations at risk, have the most to loose.

  16. Mike there is a difference between what we claim we should do and what we actually do. It is ingrained in modern humanity that civilians ought to be off target. IS that the case though? What war can you quote that actually qualifies under that standard? Not, Vietnam, not Kosovo, not Iraq, not Afghanistan, not Syria…What happened when Israel went into Gaza ?(and please do not say that it had no choice because Hamas hid within the population). What happens daily in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan? Yes, drones are blowing up people at the rate of 10 civilians for each “combatant”.
    Obviously, no civilized group would claim to deliberately target civilians, but civilians are the key to most conflicts, especially in today’s modern warfare. Blow up enough of them and the direction of any conflict changes, sometimes for the better, most often for the worse.

  17. Why Jonathan, didn’t you know that was the route to peace–killing people, then being heralded for bravery is well……………….something we do in the U.S for our own military who are also fighting wars of attrition. Just a cheap jab I know, but it’s still relevant to this discussion. When we put medals around the necks of warriors who are good at killing, it’s what others in the world see too–like this–where P.A awards their killers. Are we to use the semantical argument, that the P.A are non-uniformed and therefore are not as honorable a killer as those we uniform and send into illegal wars like Iraq? Where is the legal fine line between what is and is not an award-able murder? I make my point still loving my country, just not our hypocrisy.

  18. Murder is murder.

    When you take another human beings life regardless of the setting, war or peace, any nationality, you are a murderer and no amount of money, no military decoration and no throng of idolatrous jingoists/fanatics will ever change that.

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