|Jordanian laborer Taher Halef, convicted today in Israel on murder and |
terrorism charges arising from a 2018 attack [Image Source: Times of Israel]
A Jordanian man previously employed in Eilat was convicted Thursday on terrorism charges over a 2018 assault on two Israeli men in the Red Sea coastal city. The Beersheba District Court found Taher Halef guilty on two counts of attempted murder and for a “terrorist conspiracy.”A year and a half ago, we posted here in our blog ["01-Dec-18: Suspected Eilat terror attack: Jordanian wielding hammer seriously injures two Israeli dock-workers"] that while Palestinian Arabs with Israeli work permits were generally barred from entering Eilat, the Israeli government started in June 2014 to issue permits for up to 1,500 Jordanian citizens to work in Eilat hotels. This Jordanian, as we noted then and as reported today too, came into the program with years of lusting for Jewish blood alredy behind him.
The conviction was handed down as part of a plea deal, as part of which Halef admitted to the crime and will be sentenced to 19 years in prison. According to the plea arrangement, Halef acknowledged that he used his entry permit to carry out a terror attack in Israel and die as a “martyr”... Halef began working in Israel days before the attack, after receiving a daily work permit from the Population and Immigration Authority. He succeeded in passing the screening process despite being flagged as a potential terrorist by the Jordanian manpower agency that first interviewed him. According to state prosecutors, Halef had been planning to attack Israelis for over a decade. They said he received help from cousins in Jordan on previous occasions when he sought to carry out attacks. [Times of Israel, July 9, 2020]
A Xinhua news agency report in December 2018 said the Jordanian was charged with attempted murder of two Israelis in addition to offenses under the Anti-Terror Law,
The Arab48 news site, based in Israel and addressing Arabic-speaking markets, offers some glimpses we haven't seen elsewhere.
- The indictment says Khalaf identified as a Palestinian; that he was "raised in a national home and saw the importance of carrying out jihadist actions". He was "affected by the scenes he saw on TV during the Israeli aggression on Gaza at the end of 2008".
- Planning to somehow get a gun and to mount a shooting attack at the Jordanian-Israeli border, Khalaf purchased 200 bullets from a market in Amman, Jordan's capital and hid them with his cousin who knew about the plan.
- In November 2018, the accused returned to Aqaba, Jordan, soon after starting to work in nearby Eilat. There he met with his cousins, telling them of his plan to execute an "operation against Jews" and asking that they videotap him making a statement to his family from a hotel room in Aqaba. We assume this was a form of suicide note.
- The next morning, Khalaf entered Israel along with the other Jordanian laborers leaving Aqaba. arriving in Eilat some minutes later, he saw Israeli divers and "decided to kill them" using a hammer.
- Another Jordanian laborer tried to stop the attack. Khalaf continued - we assume that other Jordanian was one of those injured.
|A Jordan news report refers to this photo as a view |
of "Occupied Eilat" [Image Source]
It is worth noting that the workers in the occupied Eilat justify their work there due to the lack of job opportunities for them in their homeland, which compels them to work to improve the level of income, while they face severe criticism from the trade union resistance committees, because the matter is rejected by the people.But bustling, modern, world-class holiday resort Eilat didn't exist before the State of Israel was established in 1948. It has certainly never been under the control of Jordan. Or of any Palestinian Arab authority, entity or rule.
While it's early in the news cycle, we can see no other mention in any of the Jordan news channels we monitor. We will keep tracking.