US Envoy to Israel Calls Out Palestinian Authority Amid Spate of Terror Attacks
Following a spate of terror attacks targeting Israelis in recent days — including one in which two IDF soldiers were slain on Thursday in the West Bank — America’s envoy to the Jewish state has issued a challenge to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“In the past week #Palestinian terrorists have killed or wounded 14 #Israelis in multiple attacks,” US Ambassador David Friedman tweeted. “The Pal Authority maintains laws that will compensate these terrorists and their families for their heinous acts. The PA can be a political body OR a sponsor of terror, not both.”
In the past week #Palestinian terrorists have killed or wounded 14 #Israelis in multiple attacks. The Pal Authority maintains laws that will compensate these terrorists and their families for their heinous acts. The PA can be a political body OR a sponsor of terror, not both.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) December 13, 2018
The Trump administration’s special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, who has been working on reviving the long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process, tweeted, “Those countries who financially support the PA but ignore the fact that the terrorists and their families will now be rewarded for their vicious actions of murdering Israelis should speak out and consider enacting a law similar to the Taylor Force Act.”
…. Those countries who financially support the PA but ignore the fact that the terrorists and their families will now be rewarded for their vicious actions of murdering Israelis should speak out and consider enacting a law similar to the Taylor Force Act.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) December 13, 2018
The soldiers killed in Thursday’s attack were identified as 20-year-old Staff Sergeant Yovel Mor Yosef of Ashkelon and 19-year-old Sergeant Yosef Cohen of Beit Shemesh.
Staff Sergeant Yovel Moryosef (20) and Sergeant Yosef Cohen (19) were killed during the shooting attack that took place earlier today.
We express our heartfelt condolences and will continue to support their families.
May their memory be a blessing. 🕯 pic.twitter.com/Z3KnirEwvs
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 13, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — now also the defense minister following Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation last month — commented on Thursday on the latest security-related events, saying at an event at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, “Last night we settled accounts with the murderers from the terrorist attacks in the Barkan Industrial Zone and Ofra and today we suffered a harsh attack in which two soldiers were killed. We will settle accounts with whoever did this.”
“Our guiding principle is that whoever attacks us and whoever tries to attack us — will pay with his life,” Netanyahu emphasized. “Our enemies know this and we will find them.”
Later on Thursday, Netanyahu, according to a statement published by his office, ordered the implementation of a series of measures, including:
• the accelerated demolition of terrorists’ homes (to start within 48 hours)
• continued efforts to apprehend the murderers and dismantle the infrastructures from which they set out
• increased administrative detention of Hamas militants in Judea and Samaria
• reinforcement of IDF units in Judea and Samaria
• reinforcement of protection along roads and placement of checkpoints on roads in Judea and Samaria
• placing a cordon around el-Bireh and revoking permits of family members of terrorists and their accomplices.
Netanyahu also decided to “legalize thousands of homes in communities in Judea and Samaria that were built in good faith and which have yet to be legalized, some for decades,” the statement said.
“They think they can uproot us from our land,” the prime minister declared. “They will not succeed.”
According to media reports, Netanyahu sent a message to Hamas on Thursday that the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip — the coastal enclave ruled by the group — would not be maintained if terror attacks in the West Bank — where the PA holds sway — continued.
Hamas praised Thursday’s attack, but did not claim responsibility for it. It did take credit, however, for the Sunday shooting in Ofra that seriously wounded a pregnant Israeli mother and led to the death of her child, who was delivered by an emergency cesarean section and passed away on Wednesday.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement on Thursday, “Our heads are bowed in grief at the unconscionable loss of two of the best of our young men, fallen in action this morning, and are praying for the recovery of those injured.”
“Terrorism will not be allowed to flourish among us and we will stop it and its perpetrators without compromise,” he added. “My thoughts are with all the security forces who are engaged in the fight against terrorism, day and night, with devotion and dedication that knows no bounds. I salute them.”