We're Slaughtering Your Husband

    JERUSALEM - What began with a wrong turn on a dusty West Bank road ended with a ferocious attack on three hapless Israeli soldiers by a chanting Palestinian mob. At least two of the three were part-time soldiers. "You know the kind of guys: noncombatant reservists with potbellies," an Israeli military spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. Officials said the trio, driving to a call-up at a West Bank base, took a wrong turn north of Jerusalem early yesterday. What happened next is unclear.

    By one account, the soldiers accidentally found themselves at a Palestinian checkpoint, where they were detained by police and taken to Ramallah's police station. Another story went that the men cleared a Palestinian roadblock - but their car, with Israeli license plates, was chased down by a crowd of Palestinians. The Israelis sought safety at a Ramallah police station.

    Marwan Kanafani, an aide to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, said Palestinian police tried to protect the soldiers from the crowd, which included mourners returning from the funeral of a slain Palestinian. But Israeli authorities said the police not only didn't help, but may have participated in the killings.

    The mob outside the police station quickly grew to 1,500 people, many of them chanting, "Death to the Jews!" Suddenly, about a dozen men climbed into the station house through a window, all the while filmed by TV cameras. One of the rioters appeared at a second-floor window and made a victory sign, while several men were seen in the background pounding on something or someone on the floor. The crowd roared approval as one man's body was tossed out the window. A second man was pushed out the front door. The mob stomped and beat both bodies. "We saw dozens of frenzied people holding bloodstained knives and hitting someone," said TV producer Eti Vizaltir.

    An Israeli military official said he understood that the wife of one of the reservists called his cell phone. "And a Palestinian picked it up and said, ‘We are now slaughtering your husband,'" he said. Two bodies were recovered by the Israelis. Defense officials said the third soldier died in the car, which was burned. Israel radio named two of the dead as Vadim Norzasch, 33, a newlywed Russian immigrant, and Yossef Avrahami, 38, a toy salesman and father of three. Army officials said the bodies had been mutilated.


From A WRONG TURNS TURNS DEADLY FOR TRAGIC TRIO, New York Post,  Friday,October 13,2000




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