NEW YORK- While the Palestinian Authority is holding a sham trial of four Arabs it claims were involved in murdered American security personnel in Gaza, one of the real killers has been identified and eliminated.
A number of Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire on Israeli soldiers in Gaza today (Feb.11) and were killed in the subsequent shoot-out. The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that one of those killed was senior Hamas activist Hani Abu Skhaila, who was suspected of involvement in the October 2003 attack on a convoy carrying U.S. diplomats in Gaza in which three American security guards were killed.
Just this week, the PA, in response to U.S. pressure, announced that it was putting on trial four members of the Popular Resistance Committee who, it claimed, may have been connected to the murders of the three Americans. A State Department official said the trial does not meet serious standards of justice, (JTA, Feb. 9, 2004), and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, said: We dont believe that this is the way to proceed. We want to see an open trial. Were not even sure that the charge sheet reflects the gravity of the crime. (Haaretz, Feb. 9, 2004)
The fact that one of the real killers was from Hamas, not the Popular Resistance Committee, and has been living freely in Gaza, rather than standing trial, shows that the trial is a complete farce, said Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which has led a national campaign for U.S. action to capture Palestinian Arab killers of Americans. (A total of 51 American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.)
The ZOA president said: Clearly, the PA simply rounded up the usual suspects and put them on trial in order to silence the Bush administrations protests. We hope the administration will not be fooled by this meaningless PR stunt, and will use all leverage at its disposal, including suspension of Americas annual $213-million in aid to the Palestinian Arabs, to force the Palestinian Authority to hand over all terrorists involved in attacks on Americans.