Abbas criticised for meeting Palestinian 'terrorist temptress'

Amna Muna

Amna Muna

The Palestinian president has faced heavy criticism for meeting a woman who lured a young Israeli victim to the West Bank so that he could be murdered.

Mahmoud Abbas was in Turkey on Wednesday where he sat with Amna Muna, who was released from a life sentence in prison early in October as part of the deal to bring home Gilad Shalit.

Muna, who is 35, is infamous for her role in the so-called Honey Trap killing. Using an internet persona, she lured 16-year-old Ophir Rahum to Ramallah, where he was killed by terrorists.

Mr Abbas met Muna and ten other former prisoners released as part of the same deal and sent to live in Turkey.
The meeting was criticised in Israel and abroad. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the government, said it was disappointing that rather than "promoting peace and reconciliation, the Palestinian leadership seems to be putting murderers up on a pedestal".

He described Muna as a "terrorist temptress" whose "internet trap led to the brutal murder of an innocent Israeli teen.

"This (meeting) raises serious questions as to their commitment and their desire to end the (Mideast) conflict."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office added: "It is shocking to see the man who claims to the whole world that he aims for peace with Israel, going as far as Turkey to meet a despicable murderer."

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said Mr Abbas had committed an "appalling act of moral insensitivity".

"His was not a political act but a failure of decency," he said. "We have long favorued far-reaching compromise in the quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace. We will continue to do so in the face of such indecency.
Palestinian officials defended the meeting."

The release of more than 1,000 Palestinians, some of them, like Muna, serving life sentences for terrorism, was controversial when it was agreed. While Israelis celebrated Sergeant Shalit’s homecoming after more than five years, for the families and friends of those killed in terrorist time, it was a time of anguish.

The second stage of the deal was completed earlier this week, when 550 more prisoners were freed early.

Last updated: 4:56pm, December 22 2011