Israel Releases Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

NABLUS, West Bank — Israel yesterday released the deputy prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, the highest-ranking of more than 30 officials in the Hamas-led government jailed as part of a crackdown on the Islamic group.

The detention of much of the Hamas-led government has been a major sore point in rapidly deteriorating relations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs since Hamas took power. Nasser Shaer, who was held without charge for more than a month, was ordered freed by an Israeli court, which banned him from going to his government office in the West Bank city of Ramallah for two weeks.

Mr. Shaer said yesterday he was not mistreated in jail, but added: “There is nothing dearer than being free. They came and took me from my house in front of my children, wife, and family.They had no reason to do it.”


Israel and the West, labeling the Islamic movement a terror group, have cut off funding to the Palestinian Arab government, plunging the Palestinian Arab areas into a deep financial crisis.

Violence flared June 25 when Hamas-linked militants attacked an Israeli army base near Gaza, killing two soldiers, capturing a third, and triggering a large-scale Israeli offensive in the coastal strip.

Israel also rounded up dozens of West Bank officials from the Hamas-led government. Though Israel said they were suspected of involvement in terrorism, it was widely assumed that they were meant to be traded for the soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit. But no progress has been reported in mediation efforts.


Meanwhile, a Jewish settler convicted of murdering four Palestinian Arabs and injuring a fifth in an attack that he hoped would prevent Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip last year was sentenced yesterday to four consecutive life terms plus an additional 12 years in prison. Asher Weisgen, who shot the men near the West Bank settlement of Shilo in 2005, also was ordered to pay $53,000 to the families of those he killed and $23,000 to Rauhi Kassab, who survived the attack.

“This was a particularly ugly crime. No one can take the law into his own hand,” a Justice Ministry spokesman, Moshe Cohen, said. One day before the pullout began, Weisgen drove four Palestinian Arab laborers home from an aluminum factory where he worked with them. He stopped his car at the Shilo checkpoint, took the gun off a settlement guard, went back to the car, and shot each of the men at close range, killing three of them and injuring Kassab.

The New York Sun

© 2023 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  Create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use