The Jerusalem Post article by Jorg Loyken stated that “[Loyken] called Bank Leumi and there was no record of any bombing.” This meaningless statement provided no reference of what records were checked, and Loyken apparently did not check other sources or witness statements that were provided to him. (Loyken’s article has since been referenced by other news sources to attack the credibility and legitimacy of my story.)
After the publication of the Loyken article, witnesses came forth to rebut it and to confirm my account.
I spoke to Moshe Ozery, a retired military officer who served in the Israeli Defense Forces in the Bethlehem area under Moshe Ya’alon prior to Ya’alon becoming IDF chief of staff. Ozery was stationed in Beit Sahour during 1976-1977. He gave details regarding the bombing and demonstrations (and additionally gave a corroborating description of the injured soldier that I attempted to lynch during the Land Day demonstrations of March 1976).
The bombing of the Bank Leumi in Bethlehem’s Manger Square — as described in my books — was documented by the United Nations. Between December 24 and 27, there were two explosions in Manger Square: “Bethlehem (in Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity)” and “Explosive charge went off outside the local Courthouse 27 December 1977 JP. 2 Jan. 1978 Yediot Aharonot, 2 January 1978.” The Sharia Court in Bethlehem Square is part of the mosque in front of Bank Leumi.
James Al-Yateem — another witness from my village and a former classmate of mine — stated: “Not only was there an explosion on top of Bank Leumi in Bethlehem, but many of us knew that Walid did the bombing.” Al-Yateem also recounts several incidents of violence that I was involved in (including the attempted Land Day lynching).
Muhammad Meri Al-Atrash Shoebat, my relative, was also arrested at the Bethlehem Police Station after the explosion and released three days later.
I have other family connections that Itzhak has not explored. My cousin Jawad Younis, another terrorist who was exiled to Jordan, later became a prominent attorney and defended Abu Zubayda, Osama bin Laden’s henchman. My cousin Arin Shoebat was the mastermind of Operation Rishon Litzion, and Raed Awadallah Khalil Shoebat was behind an attempt to bomb Ben Yehuda street.
Gonen: how come you never discovered any of this? No wonder Shin Bet fired you.
1 Blaming The Victims by Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens (Verso 2001) on page 100. Also see The Spectator by F.C Westley, 1987, Volume 258, Issues 8269-8285, page 13. Also see Leila Baroody in The Arabs Under Israeli Occupation, 1977, pages 28-29. Also, see Middle East Report, issue 138, page 47.
2 A/32/132, S/12356 July 5, 1977
The article entitled “Israel tortures Arab Prisoners” and a related editorial which appeared in The Sunday Times 19 June 1977 with the request that they be circulated as an official document signed by Security Council Mustafa Medani, Permanent Representative of the Sudan Chairman of the Arab Group.
3 Detention of Palestinian Youths in East Jerusalem, Journal of Palestine Studies 1977, University of California Press. Also see Noam Chomsky Protest From Israel, January 1977
4 International Documents On Palestine, Institute of Palestine Studies, 1978