The IDF green-lighted a funeral procession on Sunday for a Palestinian official that included some 50 uniformed and armed P.A. police officers, in a move that drew the ire of local Jewish residents.
During the ceremony for Qadri Abu Bakr, 70, Israeli authorities partly closed Route 5 (the Trans-Samaria Highway) to Israeli motorists.
Abu Bakr, who headed the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, died in a car crash near Ariel over the weekend. A longtime PLO functionary, he managed Ramallah’s “Pay for Slay” fund, which provides monthly stipends to terrorists and their families.
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas eulogized Abu Bakr as a “strong freedom fighter.”
“Abu Bakr has stood at the forefront, defending the causes in all areas of national action and struggle, and in the international arena, since the early times of the [Palestinian] national movement,” added Abbas.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again lauded ongoing efforts to combat Palestinian terrorism, saying his government has “targeted a record number of terrorists.”
“I have said that they are to be found in one of two places: The grave or jail, mostly the former. We settle accounts with every terrorist and everyone who dispatched terrorists—in Gaza, in Judea and Samaria, in Syria and even in Iran,” continued the premier.
“Let all of our enemies know that we work according to a simple rule: Whoever harms us or tries to harm us, we will harm them and we will also thwart his designs,” said Netanyahu.
Local leaders in Samaria questioned the decision to allow armed P.A. personnel to operate near Jewish communities in areas under full Israeli control.
“This is Oslo on steroids,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said, referring to the 1990s agreements that gave the Palestinians limited self-rule in parts of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
“This is a man [Abu Bakr] who was a terrorist and spent 17 years in prison, was exiled to Iraq, returned during the Oslo Accords, and in his last position served as the acting minister for terrorist affairs and murderers,” said Dagan.
Dagan demanded to know who gave the go-ahead for the military-style funeral, which he said “endangered the safety of the residents on a main road and … harm[ed] the sovereignty of the State of Israel in central Samaria.”