Who torched my car?

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[ 31/01/2009 – 01:46 AM ]

Prof. Abdul Sattar Qassem

On Friday, 23 January, at 9:20 pm, unknown assailants (I know their identities and have handed their names over to the police) set my car ablaze while parked in front of my home (in downtown Nablus).

The arsonists jumped over the fence and poured a flammable substance all over the car. The car was burned down completely.

On 30 December, a person, identifying himself as Muhdi Marqa, a resident of the al-Ein Refugee Camp, telephoned me saying he had just listened to my interview with the al-Aqsa Television. He asked me to “calm down,” adding that I could, if I wanted, consider his call a threat.

This is the same person who had opened fire on my car on 14 June, 2007, when he and other accomplices fired 60 bullets on it. He made sure that the bullets hit the engine in order to render the vehicle unusable.

This person is now serving as a security chief at the Juneid Prison (in Nablus).

Needless to say, the Fayyad government repeatedly vowed to hound and apprehend those elements involved in assaulting citizens and vandalizing their property.

The investigating policemen who arrived at the arson scene found a mask similar to those occasionally worn by members of the Palestinian security agencies.

I hold the government of Salam Fayyad fully responsible for the torching of my car. This government is ultimately responsible for the behaviors and actions of the security agencies as well as the security of citizens. This is at least what it says.

This government is responsible for apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators and also for compensating for the actual damage and mental anguish incurred by me and my family.

Interestingly, this is not the first time I am targeted by the Palestinian security establishment. In 2005, a security officer dispatched an arsonist to torch my car following the publication of an article by me on the detention of members of the Islamic Jihad.

The day my car was torched, the Maan news agency published a claim of responsibility by a fictitious group calling itself “the Gaza martyrs regiments.” This item remained on the Ma’an’s front page of its webpage for several hours. However, when they received my response, I noticed that it was incorporated into the claim of responsibility. Soon, however, it was mysteriously removed from the Ma’an front page.

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