“The village of Kaubar is shaping its own glory,” the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida crowed a year-and-a-half ago after the slaughter of the Salomon family in their home in Halamish. “During the Palestinian people’s intifada, Kaubar has produced 15 shahids [“martyrs”], along with dozens of wounded and hundreds of prisoners.”
The capture of Asem Barghouti, who murdered two soldiers in a shooting attack at the Givat Asaf outpost in Samaria, adds another name to the list of killers Kaubar has produced. Barghouti’s brother Salih, who wounded seven Israelis in a shooting attack near Ofra in December and was killed in a shootout with Israeli security forces who were trying to arrest him, is also a native of Kaubar. The Ofra shooting wounded, among others, Avichai and Shira Ish-Ran, who was 30 weeks pregnant. Their premature son, Amiad Yisrael, was delivered via emergency Cesarean section, but died a few days later.
Some three weeks ago, Israel Hayom published a long article about Kaubar as a hotbed of terrorism. As far back as October 2011, Kaubar saw great celebrations when four of its native sons were released from prison as part of the exchange deal for captive soldier Gilad Schalit. The prisoners included cousins Nael and Fahri Barghouti, who had served more than 30 years in prison. In 1978, they stabbed bus driver Moti Yakuel to death as he was driving Palestinian workers home to Kaubar and other local villages. The cousins were welcomed by Omar Barghouti, Nael’s brother, who was also convicted for the murder but had been released as part of the 1985 Jibril Agreement, in which Israel freed more than 1,150 security prisoners for three Israelis captured in the First Lebanon War.
Nael Barghouti is Salih and Asem Barghouti’s uncle. Another uncle, Jasser Barghouti, also from Kaubar, was given nine life sentences for killing Israeli soldiers. He was released in exchange for Schalit, and he is suspected of having used his familiarity with the people of Kaubar to direct—from the Gaza Strip—the cell responsible for the Ofra and Givat Asaf attacks.
Palestinian leader and murderer Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving five life sentences in Israel, is also a native of Kaubar, as is Omar al-Abed, who murdered Yossi, Chaya and Elad Salomon in Halamish in the summer of 2017. So is Muhammad Tarek, who murdered Yotam Ovadia in the Adam settlement.
Kaubar, home to some 4,500 residents, is located in Area B, which is under Israeli security control but Palestinian civil control. The village fields lie next to Area C, which is under full Israeli control. Kaubar has a few schools and four mosques, one of which was built with a donation from the Walsall Kaubar Friendship Association. Walsall is a city of 270,000 that lies northwest of Birmingham, England.
In 2007, Walsall and Kaubar became twin cities. Kaubar’s sister city doesn’t seem particularly bothered by the long list of killers generated by its evil twin.
Nadav Shragai is a veteran Israeli journalist.