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Jerusalem Post Article Questions Shoebat's Story and Finances

Reader comment on item: Walid Shoebat: "Palestinian turns from radical Muslim to true Zionist"
in response to reader comment: Walid is to be commended for his courage

Submitted by jhubers (United States), Mar 31, 2008 at 16:49

The Jerusalem Post, which can hardly be derided as a liberal rag, and certainly cannot be attacked for being anti-Israel, has posted an article built on its own research, showing serious cracks in Walid Shoebat's biography and financial doings. Those who have been defending him as legit need to read this:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1206632362598&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

Here is an excerpt:

"Last year, Shoebat spoke to the BattleCry Christian gathering in San Francisco, which drew a reported 22,000 evangelical teenagers to what the San Francisco Chronicle described as "a mix of pep rally, rock concert and church service."

The paper described Shoebat as a self-proclaimed "former Islamic terrorist" who said that Islam was a "satanic cult" and who told the crowd how he eventually accepted Jesus into his heart.

However, Shoebat's claim to have bombed Bank Leumi in Bethlehem is rejected by members of his family who still live in the area, and Bank Leumi says it has no record of such an attack ever taking place.

His relatives, members of the Shoebat family, are mystified by the notion of "Walid Shoebat" being an assumed name. And the Walid Shoebat Foundation's working process is less than transparent, with Shoebat's claim that it is registered as a charity in the state of Pennsylvania being denied by the Pennsylvania State Attorney's Office.

Shoebat's claim to have been a terrorist rests on his account of the purported bombing of Bank Leumi. But after checking its files, the bank said it had no record of an attack on its Bethlehem branch anywhere in the relevant 1977-79 period.

Shoebat told The Jerusalem Post that this could be because the bank building was robustly protected with steel and that the attack may have caused little damage.

Asked whether word of the bombing made the news at the time, he said, "I don't know. I didn't read the papers because I was in hiding for the next three days." (In 2004, he had told Britain's Sunday Telegraph: "I was terribly relieved when I heard on the news later that evening that no one had been hurt or killed by my bomb.")

Shoebat could not immediately recall the year, or even the time of year, of the purported bombing when talking to the Post by phone from the US. After wavering, he finally settled for the summer of 1977.

The Sunday Telegraph described Shoebat as a man who "for much of his life... was eager to commit acts of terrorism for the sake of his soul and the Palestinian cause."

In that interview he described how he and his peers were indoctrinated as children "to believe that the fires of hell were an ever-present reality. We were all terrified of burning in hell when we died... The teachers told us that the only way we could certainly avoid that fate was to die in a martyrdom operation - to die for Islam."

But an uncle and a cousin of Shoebat, who still live in Beit Sahur in the Bethlehem area, where Shoebat grew up, said that Shoebat's education was rather mild ideologically, and that religion did not play a dominant role.

The uncle, interviewed at his home, said he remembered little about his nephew, because Walid left for America at the age of 16, and because his American mother always kept a distance from the rest of the family. The uncle and his wife both said firmly that there was no attack on Bank Leumi.

When questioned on this discrepancy, Shoebat was adamant that he did carry out such a bombing, and that his relatives deny it to cover up for another cousin who was with him during the attack and still lives in Bethlehem.

Shoebat evinced no particular surprise that his family could be tracked down simply by asking Beit Sahur locals where they lived, even though his Internet site claims that his is an assumed name.

Submitting....

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