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PA Parliamentarian Calls for More Kidnappings

( According to a Palestinian Authority-controlled newspaper, a member of the PA legislative body called on Arabs to carry out more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. "He argued that the kidnapping of the soldier Gilad Shalit hit Israel very hard," reported Al-Ayyam on March 10, 2007.

The Al-Ayyam article provided a summary of a speech delivered by Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of the PA's legislative council, at a gathering of the Wa'ed organization. Wa'ed is a support organization for Arab prisoners and released prisoners in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to a press release issued by Palestinian Media Watch, Hamad was described as having "demanded the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to free the prisoners.... Hamad stressed it was the responsibility of the government, the Legislative Council, the [armed] factions and military arms to dedicate all the efforts at their disposal to free the prisoners."

Acting in this vein early last month, three Hamas terrorists from the Ramallah area repeatedly attempted to kidnap Israelis from several junctions in southern Samaria. News of their capture on February 4 was released for publication on Monday.

The three would-be kidnappers, each about 20 years old, admitted that their attempts were intended to obtain hostages who could be traded for the release of Arab terrorists imprisoned by Israel. They said they had bought guns and a stolen car, and planned to hide their hostage in a cave near their home. The alertness of one of their intended victims led to the terrorists' capture on the Bir Zeit Bridge, after they attempted to convince Jewish civilians to ride with them at Rachelim Junction, Tapuach Junction and Eli Junction.

The Shabak (General Security Service) notes that during 2006, a rise in such kidnappings - both attempted and successful - was registered. Security service officials expect more terrorist attempts to kidnap Jewish civilians and soldiers. In order to prevent such incidents, police officials say they demand "personal responsibility" from the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria – with the question of how that responsibility would be executed left undefined.