September 3, 2002
Iklas Khouli will go down in the history of the Middle East as the first Palestinian
Arab woman to be murdered by Yasser Arafat’s proxies for collaborating with
According to the Associated Press, Mrs. Khouli, 35, was killed on August 24.
Her bullet riddled body was dumped in the street after she was seized from her
home at the West Bank city of Tulkarm.
The AP’s correspondent, Mohammed Daraghmeh, quoted her son, Bakir,
17, as saying that Palestinian gunmen tortured him until he invented a story
about his mother’s involvement in a militant’s death.
The AP reported that her killers released a videotape of Mrs. Khouli’s
confession and her warning to others not to do what she did. But the AP
quoted her son as saying, “They accused me of helping Israeli intelligence.
When they started beating me with this wire, I confessed and invented a
The AP moved an extraordinary color photograph of Bakir Khouli’s back,
showing the welts and scabs that he says were left by the electric cord his
The AP story was carried by newspapers across America and the around world,
while some newspapers carried accounts by their own correspondents or other
The New York Times decided not to run the AP dispatch, but it did send one of
its reporters, Serge Schmemann, to dig into the matter. It ran out his dispatch
yesterday, under the headline, “For Arab Informers, Death; For the
It began with an interview with Mrs. Khouli’s sister, Muyassar Ibrahim,
who was in obvious anguish not only because her sister had been killed but
because more recently her daughter, Rajah Ibrahim, was also shot dead as a
collaborator. Her husband had been killed six months earlier, the Times
reported. The Times account didn’t include that Mrs. Khouli’s son said she was
killed after he invented, under torture, a story implicating her. It did quote the
confession that her killers videotaped her making.
What nags at us is the tacit assumption, which seems to be widely held, that if
Mrs. Khouli did what she is accused by her killers of doing, she somehow
deserved her fate. What she was accused of doing, after all, was telephoning
tips to Israeli agents that lead them to a terrorist. This at a time when the
terrorist was involved in the targeting for murder of Israeli civilians.
Our own sources tell us that, in fact, the Israelis receive many telephone calls
and other tips from Palestinian Arabs who don’t support the terrorism and
suicide bombings. It turns out that many Palestinians resent, even hate, the
“Tunisians,” as they call the thugs who came into their villages after Yasser
Arafat was brought to the West Bank, under the Oslo Accords, from his
banishment to Tunis.
The Times quotes an unnamed spokesman for the Aksa Martyrs Brigade,
which killed Mrs. Khouli, as saying, “The interrogators were experienced and
qualified intelligence men from the Palestinian Authority, trained in Britain and
the United States.”
Scores of Palestinians have been murdered by Palestinian Arab thugs on
charges of helping save Jewish and Arab Israeli lives, though it is rarely
described that way.
And it may be that for an account that captures the full drama of this
slaughter of Palestinians by Palestinians we’ll have to await a playwright with
the powers of a Shakespeare.
But we can’t help recalling that at Jerusalem, at the Holocaust memorial known
as Yad Vashem, there is a tree-lined walk honoring the men and women who
risked their lives to save the lives of Jews. They are known as the Righteous
Among the Nations. One doesn’t have to equate the Palestinian Arabs with the
Nazis to imagine a time when someone will plant a tree somewhere for those
righteous Palestinians who risked – or gave – their lives trying to help the Israelis
defeat those who are sending suicide bombers to the slay the Jews in Israel.