Palestinian cops rescue Israeli soldier - Yahoo! News
Amazing. An Israeli strays into Arab controlled territory and it makes international headlines. Shouldn't it just be another "ho-hum" incident? Aren't the "moderate" Fatah forces against terrorism having a common enemy with the Israelis?
By MOHAMMED BALLAS, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 27, 6:34 PM ET
JENIN, West Bank - Palestinian police rescued an Israeli soldier Monday after he mistakenly drove into this West Bank town and was surrounded by a mob that later burned his car. Israel praised the rescue as a sign of the growing strength of Palestinian moderates.
Three policemen spotted the Israeli military officer inside the car and escorted him through the mob before taking him to their headquarters, police said. The soldier suffered no injuries and was handed over to Israeli troops.
The Israeli army said the officer entered Jenin, a town known as a stronghold of militants, by mistake and he was evacuated by Palestinian security forces in cooperation with the army.
Israeli TV stations broadcast video showing Palestinian security officers surrounding the soldier and hustling him away from the crowd, while reassuring him in Hebrew. It was not clear who took the video.
The rescue was a sharp contrast to seven years ago when two Israeli army reservists strayed into the West Bank city of Ramallah. They were captured by Palestinian police, who took them to a police station. A mob stormed the station and killed the two, throwing one body from a second story window as news photographers took pictures.
That incident, known to shocked Israelis as "the lynching," set the tone for violence and suspicion that has continued ever since.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as calling Monday's rescue a positive sign.
"This operation proves that the Palestinian government and its forces are growing stronger in the field relative to the terrorist organizations," Livni said during a meeting with Fayyad, the paper reported.
A senior Israeli officer told Army Radio that coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the West Bank has improved since the government of moderate Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took office.
For more than a year before that, communications between the two sides were cut because the Islamic militants of Hamas ran the Palestinian government after winning a parliamentary election, ousting the longtime rulers from the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas dismissed the Hamas government after the militants overran the Gaza Strip in June, replacing it with a moderate Cabinet led by Fayyad.