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!
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • 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.