UPDATE: Israeli cars and buses attacked by Palestinian rock throwers near Bethlehem overnight.
On October 30, 2000, a Palestinian terrorist walked into the Israeli social security office that serves Palestinians in an Arabic neighborhood of Jerusalem, pulled out a gun, and shot Esh Kadesh Gilmore point blank in the back of his head and again in his back–killing him instantly.
Despite the fact that the office operated for the exclusive benefit of local Palestinians dispensing disability payments and the monthly child allowance that every Arab family in Israel receives, the office needed a security guard because of death threats made by Palestinians against Palestinian workers in the office. Esh Kadesh Gilmore was that security officer–whose job it was to defend Palestinians.
25 year old Esh Kadesh Gilmore left behind a wife of three years, Inbal, and a one year old daughter, Talya Dina. The son of Jews who had returned to Israel from Cleveland, Ohio and Elizabeth, New Jersey, Esh Kadesh grew up near Modi’in playing in the same fields and forests that the Maccabees had lived in thousands of years before, and eventually joined an elite combat unit fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon. His mother, Zehava, said that his name, Esh Kadesh, referred to “the special spark of holiness that every Jew has inside.”
Back in 2000, Esh Kadesh Gilmore’s wife remembered a conversation she had with her husband when she tried to dissuade him from working in the social security office because she thought it was too dangerous. Esh Kadesh told her “We’re here for the Arab population. Without us, it would be difficult for thousands of Arabs who receive benefits from our office. “
It turns out that the man who planned Esh Kadesh Gilmore’s murder–and those of many other Israelis– was Mahmoud Awad Damra, commander of the Palestinian Authority’s Force 17. Finally captured in 2005, Damra was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 15 years for his role in planning terrorist attacks against Israel–including the murder of Esh Kadesh Gilmore.
In 2008, Tzedek Gilmore, the brother of Esh Kadesh, became one of six plaintiffs in a case against the Palestine Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization seeking financial compensation as victims, or on behalf of victims, of terror attacks.
At the time, the PA and PLO absurdly argued that the case should not be allowed to go forward because it “might endanger Middle East peace.” Specifically, these two terror organizations argued that “financial penalties could weaken the Palestinian Authority’s position against its rival in Gaza, Hamas.” The case is still pending.
Meanwhile, in 2009, while Damra was still in prison, he was promoted to the rank of major-general by Mahmoud Abbas. In October of 2011, Damra was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
Yesterday, Mahmoud Abbas issued a special presidential decree appointing Mahmoud Awad Damra–terrorist extraordinaire–as his personal adviser for local government.
The story of Esh Kadesh Gilmore goes on . . .