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Ariel Karabelnicoff
photo by Rhonda Spivak

photo by Rhonda Spivak

Two Suspects Confess to Taking Part in Lynch of IDF Reservists in Ariel Karabelnicoff's Unit- Two to Be Tried 12 Years Later-

August 10, 2012



The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF, and Judea and Samaria district police arrested two men who confessed to taking part in the brutal October 2000 lynch of two IDF soldiers, security forces announced on Thursday August 9.


Ariel Karabelnicoff, who is now a member fo Winnipeg's Jeiwsh community is the one who identified the badly mutilated corpses of the two lynched IDR officers as he had trained with them.

This week's arrests came after the Shin Bet and police uncovered an extensive Hamas terror structure in Ramallah and the Binyamin region.Other suspects along with the two men were arrested.

In June,  Israeli security forces arrested the Palestinian security suspects, some of whom, according to Israeli police,  formed a Hamas field command in that region of the West Bank.

Two of those questioned confessed to being involved in the beating to death of IDF reservists Yossi Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhitz at the PA police station in Ramallah.  The two
 IDF soldiers were scheduled to meet up with Karabelnicoff and others at his base, but made a wrong turn and ended up being lynched.

The two  confessors were charged at the Judea Military Court on  Monday of this week.

"We notified the families of the victims about the arrests after the investigation, and before publication of it. We acted with sensitivity,"  Israeli police spokesman Dudi Asraf told the Jerusaslem Post.

"We told the families that the Israel Police and the security forces have not forgotten their sons, and that those involved in the crime will be tried irrespective of the 12 years that passed since the crime was committed," Asraf  told the  Jerusalem Post

Karabelnicoff, who was thirty one years old at the time recalls, "We were in service near Beit El, a Jewish settlement near Ramallah in the territories and Vadim, Yossi and I trained together. We were drivers for regular combat soldiers and we conducted surveillance around the Jewish settlements."

"Two days before the lynching took place, we were training all day together. Vadim had just gotten married. I remember Vadim came with his private car and had just put in a new stereo—he drove me. We talked about how he was on reserves instead of being on his honeymoon.

"I remember that two days before the incident, the three of us were waiting to see the head of the base and talking to each other, while we were overlooking Ramallah. Yossi Avrahami looked out onto Ramallah and said, 'These guy [the Palestinians] if they could, they would kill us."

Karabelnicoff says that they were told by the base commanders that "we could go home for a day and then return the next day, where we would get our assignment for the next month."

"I remember that Vadmin and Yossi didn't have a clue where we were, as they had followed others to get to the base, and they were talking to each other about how they would get back the day later after the day off. So they coordinated with each other to come back to the base together. Vadim picked up Yossi and they came through Modiin to go towards Jerusalem. They were in uniform with weapons. They took a wrong turn at the Arab village of Bitunia and mistakenly passed the Israeli checkpoint and entered Ramallah. They reached a Palestinian Authority roadblock. What the Palestinian police should have done is say you can't come through here, you must go back and go to the north of Jerusaelm to the Hismeh checkpoint. But instead the Palestinian police detained the two, took their weapons and took them to the Ramallah police station."

Hearing rumours that undercover Israeli agents were in the police station in Ramallah, a crowd of more than 1,000 Palestinians gathered at the station, calling for their death. Within fifteen minutes, word that two soldiers were held in a Ramallah police station reached Israel. The Israeli Army decided against a rescue operation due to the fact that it would probably meet resistance from well-trained Palestinian Authority security forces.

Karabelnicoff's colleagues, Vadim and Yossi were beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out and were disemboweled.

Karabelnicoff remembers that on that same fateful morning when Vadim and Yossi had driven togther accidentally taking the wrong turn, he had driven by himself back to the base through a different route –that was "a short cut through the West Bank that also went through Palestinian villages."

In hindsight he says "I was armed while I drove through the villages, but it was also dangerous."

Karabelnicoff, who in Winnipeg is the executive director of Israel Bonds, recalls that when he got to the base on that fateful day "Everyone was waiting for Vadim and Yossi. I took some equipment and it was getting late. No one knew what was going on. Then we heard the Palestinians had kidnapped two Israelis, but no one knew a thing.

"Suddenly, we saw the commando of the base. I saw a helicopter coming to the base, the helicopter landed, and they told me–come–you were in same unit and were training with them [Vadim and Yossi.] The commandos had gone to Ramallah and gotten their corpses and asked me if I could identify them. It was really hard to ID them [Vadim and Yossi.] They were disfigured. It was difficult. Two others also identified them. We were all like in a haze as if was not reality." Still to this day, Karabelnicoff, says he has "a bad feeling" about it all.

"I heard them [Vadim and Yossi] talking that they would go back together. Instead of telling them to go on my route and we'd go one after another, I didn't say anything. I thought they would manage and they'd be fine. There was no reason to think otherwise. It's a bad feeling…Nobody at the time thought things could erupt this way. There was a peace process then. We [the IDF] were cooperating at the time with Palestinian police so no one foresaw this…No one warned us about anything like this. Nobody in the Israeli army was really recognizing that things were getting so bad..But it was not long after Ariel Sharon had gone to the Temple Mount...The intifada would escalate."

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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