A vehicle transporting armed Fatah terrorists passed the Rabbi on the road, closed in on him and then fired at him with an automatic weapon.
Eleven bullets hit the car, and one penetrated his skull, causing his death.
An Israeli army check point had been operating until very recently only 100 feet from the site of the attack, but was lifted due to efforts to “ease the lives of the Palestinians”, according to a press release sent to the media by the Israeli army spokesman.
Mr. Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, responded to the attack saying: “After a prolonged period of calm, the central roadblock between Tulkarm and Shavei Shomron was removed- despite our warnings.”
Rabbi Hai is survived by his wife, a teacher in a local religious girls’ high school, and seven children, the youngest of whom, Nahman, is two months old. Rabbi Hai was a well-known figure in the Samaria region, and had even established a Torah study network for kindergartens, which he also directed.
According to Menuha Hazani, a family friend, “Rabbi Meir was someone who loved everyone; he had a cheerful disposition and loved children. He was a lively spirit for children in the settlement - he always went around with candy in his pocket, pampered the children and sang songs with them. There are not many such people, who devote their entire life to giving to others. It’s quite rare. Another resident, Dina Yeshurun, adds: “You would always see Rabbi Hai with a big smile on his face, surrounded by dozens of children.”
Less than 48 hours after the terror attack, the score was settled with the murderers of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai. IDF crack troops killed yesterday morning three members of the from Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, the unit that is now undergoing military training by the American government.
One of the killers had been released from Israeli prison just four months ago. Another one of the terrorists had signed a “wanted men’s agreement”, in he had undertaken not to engage in terrorism.
On Saturday morning large numbers of IDF troops surrounded Nablus and imposed a curfew on numerous parts of the city. Surkaji and Abu Sharah were killed after they hunkered down in their houses and refused to turn themselves in to the security forces. Abu Sharah sent out his wife, but he continued to hide out inside the house. The activity in Subuh’s house lasted a number of hours, in the course of which anti-tank rockets were fired at the house in an attempt to force the wanted man to emerge.
In the wake of the operation, the White House asked Israel for clarifications in the wake of the slaying of the three men in Nablus. Top US administration officials took the matter up with Director of the National Security Staff in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Uzi Arad and demanded clarifications. Arad clarified the matter with security establishment officials and then presented the Americans with a full, factual account, including details about the terror attack and the fact that the wanted men had refused to surrender and to come out of their houses.
The Israeli army also provided ballistics tests to show that the weapons seized from the terrorists matched the bullets which murdered Rabbi Chai.
The White House’s request for clarifications was made in the aftermath of Palestinian protests about the Israeli operation, which they cast as an act of Israeli provocation.
Profiles of the Arab terrorists who murdered Rabbi Meir Hai
* Nader Surkarji: Aged 40, Surkarji was high on Israel’s most wanted list from El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. He took part in numerous terror attacks and established explosives laboratories in Nablus. Sukarji served seven years in the Israeli Hadarim Prison. He was released from prison and returned to Nablus in early 2009.
* Ghassan Abu Sharah: Aged 39, was party to the planning and execution of numerous terror attacks. His brother, Naif Abu Sharah, was formerly a Tanzim leader and was one of the founders and top commanders of El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Naif Abu Sharah was killed by IDF troops six years ago.
* Anan Subuh: Aged 40, Subuh engaged in the sale and supply of arms for terror attacks. He signed the wanted men’s agreement that was reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in the framework of which the IDF granted immunity from arrest to all Tanzim operatives who undertook not to engage further in terrorism.
Palestinian Media Watch, which provides reports of the official Palestinian Authority media to the press, reported that.the PA-controlled media “have continuously portrayed the killers of Rabbi Meir Chai as “Palestinian heroes and Shahids” - holy Martyrs -- while describing Israel's killing of the three terrorists as "murder in cold blood" and "assassination."
The leader of the PA, Machmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, often described in the media as a “moderate” declared the killers of Rabbi Chai to be "Shahids" (holy Martyrs) and sent his personal emissary to visit the families, as described in the following account on Palestinian Authority TV News on Sunday, December 27, as Rabbi Cjai was being buried:
"Secretary General of the Presidents Bureau, Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, conveyed condolences on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas to the residents of Nablus and to the families of the three Shahids [Martyrs] for the Martyrdom of their sons, who were assassinated by Israeli occupation forces yesterday morning. He conveyed to the fighting families letters of condolences from the President [Abbas] and updated them as to [Abbas's] decision to declare them as Shahids [Martyrs] of the Palestinian revolution..."
At the same time, PA TV featured am official Fatah poster, signed with condolences of PA Chairman Abbas, honoring the three terrorists. The following is the text on the poster with pictures of the terrorists:
"With honor and admiration to those who are more honored than all of us."
[Reference to supreme honor of Shahids - Martyrs in Islam]
Palestinian Media Watch
After the terrorists were killed by Israeli troops, the Fatah threatened more "quality operations" and warned that it would avenge the killing of the "Jihad Fighters:
"The occupation murders three residents of Nablus in cold blood... the President's [Abbas's] Bureau denounces the Israeli crime...
"The [Fatah's] Al-Aqsa Brigades announced: 'By the act of murdering an elite group of our Jihad Fighters in Nablus and in Gaza, the occupation is opening for itself the gates of Hell.' They threatened that 'our activists will not stand idly by while the blood of Jihad Fighters is spilled... The enemy will hear nothing from us but the language of blood and fire, and our Shahada [Martyrdom] Seekers will go out to [the enemy] from every place in order to turn his days into nights, and he will come to regret his crime. We shall not sleep over the blood of our Jihad Fighters, and our response will be swift... We affirm the continuation of our choice of blood and Martyrdom.
The only choice, in the face of the repeated attacks against our people in the towns and villages and refugee camps of the occupied homeland. We shall turn the spilled blood of the Martyrs and the commanders into a torch of fury that will burn the forces of evil and aggression."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 27, 2009]
The news of the attack has reverberated in the United States.
Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the American based Orthodox Union, representing more than one thousand Orthodox Jewish organizations throughout the United States, issued the following statement with regard to the murder of Rabbi Meir Chai by Palestinian terrorists:
”The murder of Rabbi Meir Chai, an innocent person and beloved father of seven children, is tragic and heinous.
If preliminary reports are correct, and the perpetrators of this crime are found to be affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, then that group's leadership - from President Abbas on down, must be held responsible and account for their failures to rein in such terrorists within their midst.
We would also call upon the United States, which works closely with and supports the Palestinian Authority's security services, to undertake an inquiry and take appropriate actions in response.
The United States Consulate in Jerusalem would not answer queries about the responsibility of Mr. Abbas and the PA for the murder of Rabbi Chai and would not issue any condemnation of the PA in this context. The only thing that the United States did condemn this week was the Israeli government announcement of further housing opportunities for Israelis to live in areas of Jerusalem that were acquired by Israel in the wake of the 1967 war.