Gaza-based Palestinian groups on Tuesday celebrated the West Bank terror attack that the day before had killed one Israeli and injured two more, while other Palestinian organizations – including the internationally backed Fatah faction that controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) – generated controversy by pointedly declining to condemn the atrocity. A statement issued by Palestinian Islamic Jihad described the shooting – which saw the family’s car riddled with bullets, killing a father of five and injuring his wife and child – as a “natural” reaction to Israeli actions.
Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh hailed the murder:
The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has praised an attack that killed an Israeli in the West Bank.
Speaking Tuesday in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said the shooting a day earlier outside the city of Hebron “brought back life to the path of resistance.” He saluted “Hebron and the heroes of Hebron.”
Israeli officials have expressed increasingly pitched concerns that Hamas – having been bottled up in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli naval blockade and a persistent Egyptian campaign to destroy underground smuggling tunnels – may launch a dramatic terror attack in the West Bank to bolster its sagging stature.
The PA for its part choose not to denounce the attack, a move that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu linked to ongoing incitement by Palestinian officials that had already generated other acts of violence against Israelis:
“This reprehensible murder of a man who was traveling with his family to a meal for the Festival of Freedom is the result of the incitement for which the Palestinian Authority is responsible,” the prime minister said.
“The incitement of the Palestinian Authority continues in that it has yet to see fit to condemn this abominable and reprehensible act,” he added.
Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority continues to constantly broadcast – in it’s official media – programs that incite against the existence of the State of Israel.
Palestinian media reported on Sunday that a PLO committee had been dispatched to the Gaza Strip to facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. The two factions have been at odds at least as far back as 2006, when Hamas emerged ahead in Palestinian legislative elections.
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