Israel Terror Suspect Reported To Be US Citizen

West Bank, photo by Almonroth

On Sunday evening, a drive-by shooting occurred in the Israeli West Bank. Three Jewish college students were waiting at a bus stop when shots were fired from a nearby car; the assailant fled, and Israeli Defense Forces began a manhunt.

This sort of violence is disturbingly common in Israel, to the point where it is rarely reported in the United States unless the victims are particularly prominent or the victim count particularly large. In this case, one of the shooting victims perished and another remains in critical condition. In retaliation, Israelis from a nearby settlement launched an attack on a Palestinian village in the area, lighting fires on the farmland of those believed to be supporters of the shooter. Firebombs were then used against Israeli soldiers performing regular patrols, and in their response a 16-year-old attacker was shot dead.

There has been some small attention paid because of the two dead teens, but not much. The situation has changed with the identification and capture of the suspect in the shooting. His name is Muntasir Shalabi, he is 44, and if reports are accurate he is an American citizen.

Initial indications and statements from neighbors in his town of Turmus Ayya, south of the site of the shooting and subsequent conflicts, are that Shalabi was born in the Palestinian-contested territories, moved to the US, received citizenship, then returned to Israel to be with his family after racking up gambling debts.

Contrary to public perception, the State Department has no obligation to intervene or negotiate with foreign governments regarding even minor criminal violations; they are committed to services such as translating local laws into English, contacting appropriate clergy and informing friends and family at the request of someone who has been incarcerated. Nevertheless, political influence is regularly brought to bear for lesser offenses, and terroristic action by a US citizen are likely to cause a minor diplomatic headache and domestic political pressure from supportive demographics.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.