Palestinian murder suspect loses his Israeli VIP status

JERUSALEM — Israel has rescinded the VIP card of a senior Palestinian security official it suspects of involvement in the recent murders of Arab land dealers.

Palestinian Authority officials denounced the decision to withdraw the VIP credentials of Tawfik Tirawi, the head of security in Ramallah.

The head of the Palestinian Authority's information department, Yasser Abed Rabbo, called the decision a grave violation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

He said Israel did not have the right to make a unilateral decision regarding the credentials.

Israeli police have disclosed that they suspect Tirawi of involvement in the recent murders of three Arab land dealers.

The killings occurred after Palestinian Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein said that selling land to Jews is a crime punishable by death.

Israeli police recently detained six Palestinians who were allegedly involved in an attempt to kidnap a fourth land dealer.

According to police, information culled from questioning the six has substantiated their suspicions that the Palestinian security apparatus, acting on instructions from the Palestinian Authority, was involved in the murders.

A U.S. official quoted Sunday by the Israeli daily Ha'aretz said that the United States had sent a warning to the Palestinian Authority regarding the murders.

The official was quoted as saying that as a result of the warning, the Palestinian Authority had decided to suspend the policy.