Obama administration demanded explanation for Israel's Fatah killings

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President Obama won’t call the Iranian government illegitimate, but he will make demands of a democracy at the behest of a group that openly sponsors terrorist activities. That’s the change we need.

On Saturday the U.S. administration requested “clarification” of the Israel Defense Force’s Friday killing of three convicted terrorists who murdered a rabbi in the West Bank last week — a diplomatic slap.

And for what? Soldiers shot at and killed Fatah members Ghassan Abu Sharkh, 39, Anan Suleiman Mustafa Subih, 36, and Nader Raed Sukarji, 40, outside a Nablus home after all refused to surrender. All three of the men had spent time in Israeli prisons. A ballistic test of guns inside the house confirmed one of the weapons had been used to murder Meir Avshalom Hai, a 45-year-old father of seven, last Thursday.

But it is the United States, not Israel, that ought to be explaining. Subih had been part of an amnesty agreement, much favored and pushed by the American government, with Israel in which Fatah gunmen agreed to cease violence in exchange for Israel’s promise not to hunt them down. And the American-funded and -trained Palestinian security forces, under the command of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, have been useless in bringing down or even denting the Fatah terror network in the West Bank.

The call for explanation, when the answer was obviously self-defense, came the same day Palestinian Authority officials complained to the Obama administration about the killings. An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the strikes “a grave Israeli escalation [that] shows Israel is not interested in peace and is trying to explode the situation.” One wonders about his vision of “peace.”

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Anath Hartmann

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