Israel Admits to Killing Palestinian Terrorist in 1988 – What Will the Repercussions Be?

Israel’s censor has publically released information that confirms Israel assassinated Khalil al-Wazir (the man on the left of  Yasser Arafat in the above picture) in 1988 in Tunisia; however Israeli officials have not confirmed this. Khalil al-Wazir (also known as Abu Jihad) formed the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) with Yasser Arafat. PLO was a terrorist organization that committed numerous deadly attacks on Israel, and Al-Wazir was the “mastermind” behind the 1975 killing of 11 Israeli’s in Tel-Aviv, and a 1978 bus attack that killed 38 Israeli’s.

The information that Israel released says that two men disguised as a couple on vacation approached Al-Wazir’s home, with one appearing to be holding a box of chocolates, which was in reality concealing a gun. The man who was dressed as the female partner distracted one of Al-Wazir’s bodyguard’s by asking for directions, which led to the bodyguard being shot. A separate team killed another bodyguard and a gardener before entering Al-Wazir’s villa and killing him (remorse was felt about the shooting of the gardener, which was done to make sure there was no resistance).

It was also released that two men who were part of this plot are now high political Israeli officers- Ehud Barak is now Israel’s Defense Minister, and Moshe Yaalon is the Vice Premier.

The PLO and Israel have since come to peaceful agreements, with Palestinian individuals opposed to this “peace” continuing to lead a “campaign of violence” against Israel. With this information being released, and the attempt at peace between Israel and Palestine, Palestinians:

Hope their bid to gain upgraded observer status at the United Nations next month will enable them to join the International Criminal Court where they can “pursue Israel for its crimes against our people.”

What is odd about this public release is that Israel’s military censor’s main goal is to make sure that information that might cause a threat to national security (such as exposing tactics, agents, and intelligence) not be published.


Why did Israel publish this report – is this not a breach of national security? This might certainly cause a violent retaliation by Palestine, which would be in response to Israel’s violent retaliation, continuing the circle of attacks between these two nations. Perhaps Israel is trying to come clean so to speak with Palestine to promote good faith?

Will this uncharacteristic openness by Israel help it or hurt Israel?

Will action be taken by the ICC?



The Huffington Post: World

Jewish Virtual Library: PLO



  1. It is interesting to consider whether the ICC will take this case. The cases now open under the ICC include Darfur, Kenya, and Uganda; all other open cases are on the African continent. The crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and in a few years crimes of aggression. I think the main issue with the ICC investigating the case is whether they will have jurisdiction. The ICC has jurisdiction: if the accused is a national of a state party, if the alleged crime took place on the territory of the state party, or by referral by the U.N. Security Council. Jurisdiction in this case would hinge on whether Palestine is able to become a state party to the Rome Statute. Assuming they have jurisdiction over the case, they will definitely take into account the government’s lack or unwillingness to prosecute.

  2. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is of such a political nature that the ICC will likely never take the case. This may be for the best, however, because if the ICC prosecuted war crimes against Palestine, Palestinians would feel they were being wronged. If the ICC prosecuted war crimes against Israel, then Israelis would feel they were being wronged. Because of how volatile the region is already, it will likely be advisable for the ICC not to intervene in the near future. Such an intervention would not help the peace efforts.

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