Palestinian Parents Say Son Who Stabbed Jewish West Bank Settler 'Did Duty'

Attacker's Brother Ostracized as Israeli Informer

Angry Vigil: Israeli settlers hold vigil at West Bank intersection where Jewish man was stabbed by Palestinian.
getty images
Angry Vigil: Israeli settlers hold vigil at West Bank intersection where Jewish man was stabbed by Palestinian.

By Reuters

Published May 02, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Ali Zaghal read the mysterious text message early on Tuesday morning with dread: “Forgive me, brother.”

Minutes later, his 21-year-old brother Salam stabbed an Israeli settler waiting at a traffic circle in the occupied West Bank, killing him before being shot and arrested by soldiers.

While the family of the dead settler mourned their loss, the Zaghal family, living in poverty in the north of the Palestinian territory, defended Salam’s action as justified.

“It was destiny, and we take pride in him as a family. What he did is a duty for all Palestinians living with the aggression of the army and settlers,” his elderly father Assad said, sitting with glum relatives in a circle of plastic chairs.

The slaying of 31-year-old Eviatar Borovsky was the first time an Israeli had been killed by a Palestinian in the West Bank since 2011, when seven Israelis died, including a family of two settlers and their three young children all knifed to death.

Nine Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers this year, mostly during clashes with protesters.

While Salam’s deed may bring esteem to his family among some Palestinians, it may not erase an old taint in this run-down village - his brother Abdulfattah’s conviction by Palestinian authorities of spying for Israel.

Israeli security forces say they are investigating whether Salam’s attack was meant to clear the family name, something the family denies. Palestinian society reviles suspected spies and families seldom live down the shame of being linked to one.

The killing appears to encapsulate the contradictions of Palestinian politics in the West Bank - torn between working with a sworn enemy and lashing out violently against it.

OUTPOSTS AND OUTRAGE

Abdulfattah’s 10-year sentence was commuted out of mercy for the impoverished family, a security source said, and he was freed on bail pending an appeal after serving a year in jail.

“I’ve served a year. They said I was informing, but they’re totally wrong and they had no evidence,” said a pensive Abdulfattah, holding prayer beads in his sinewy arm.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.