Bulldozer terrorist's family excuses attack, tries to raise mourning tent

Thursday, July 03, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israel Border Police officials on Thursday ordered the family of an Arab terrorist who used his bulldozer to crush and maim Israelis on a main Jerusalem thoroughfare a day earlier to take down a mourning tent they had set up for the deceased killer.

Husam Dwayat was himself killed by an off-duty Israeli soldier who leapt atop the rampaging bulldozer as it plowed into pedestrians, cars and public buses on central Jerusalem's Jaffa Street on Wednesday.

Border Police officers stationed in the terrorist's home village of Sur Baher noticed the family was preparing to erect a mourning tent and stopped them before the tent could be raised.

Opposition Likud lawmaker Gilad Erdan urged the government to advance legislation that would make it illegal to publicly mourn a deceased terrorist. The prominent public mourning of another Jerusalem Arab who killed eight young Jewish Bible students at one of the main yeshivas in the capital in March sparked intense anger among Israelis.

Meanwhile, Dwayat's family on Thursday hired a lawyer who wasted no time in asserting that the young father and husband was no terrorist, but had simply gone temporarily insane.

"There is no evidence that it was terrorism," family attorney Shimon Kukush insisted in an interview with Israel Radio.

The distinction is important, because if Dwayat was a terrorist deliberately killing Jews for nationalistic reasons, then the government has a strong case to demolish his family's home as a warning to other potential terrorists among Jerusalem's Arab population.

The temporary insanity plea was viewed with scorn in light of Dwayat's past record of violence, as well as the fact that he was unlikely to be hired by municipal contractors if he was suffering from mental instability.

Sur Baher community leaders claimed that the deadly bulldozer rampage could have been provoked by Orthodox Jewish youth throwing stones and hurling insults at Dwayat.

The terrorist's brother also insisted that his sibling was no terrorist because religious or ideological reasons could not have been behind the attack, as Dwayat was not a religious or ideological man. The brother offered that perhaps the entire incident was simply a traffic accident gone wrong, and that Dwayat had only continued rampaging through traffic because he was frightened by the Israelis chasing and shooting at him.

The brother's explanation failed to acknowledge amateur video footage that showed the bulldozer deliberately targeting a public bus and tipping it over with the bulldozer's massive front loader.

Additionally, numerous witnesses testified to hearing Dwayat shout "Allahu Akbar" - the traditional cry of Muslim terrorists as they prepare to kill infidels - as he plowed through traffic and fought with the armed Israelis who arrived to stop him.

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