A prominent Israeli journalist has accused the authorities in Tel Aviv of creating friction between Israel and the Palestinians in order to avoid reaching a political agreement. Amira Hass made her statement following what she described as the "cold-blooded assassination" of Mu'atazz Washaha in BirZeit on Thursday. "The Israeli army did this deliberately," she claimed, "in order to raise the political temperature and threaten a security response." Washaha's funeral revealed the extent of tension on the Palestinian street, she added.
Writing in Haaretz newspaper on Sunday, Hass said: "Israel's goal to embarrass the Palestinian Authority and undermine its status by committing such aggressive acts has been successful. The Palestinian Authority officials were absent from Washaha's funeral amid angry cries by the attendees who demanded punishment for the collaborators, an end to the futile negotiations and a halt to security coordination with Israel."
According to Hass, the presence of 200 Israeli soldiers, dozens of jeeps, two bulldozers and many Shin Bet [internal security] officers during the raid in BirZeit has undermined the Palestinian Authority's status. "The operation left the Palestinians wondering about the Palestinian security forces' position when the IDF attacked BirZeit to execute unarmed Washaha and the significance of the PA's silence held under the pretext of maintaining the status quo and avoiding escalations."
The respected correspondent pointed out that the Israeli army gave permission to kill the young man only because he refused to appear for an interview with a Shin Bet agent called Alon. "This was regarded as a personal affront by Alon, said Hass, and the Israeli officer decided that Washaha deserved to die as a result.
She noted that the Shin Bet internal security agency used its usual arguments to justify the murder, claiming that the young man had "intended" to carry out an "aggressive operation" against Israeli targets. Most reports in the Israeli media accepted this claim without question.