Israel

Fatah Celebrates “Heroic” Palestinian Who Killed U.S. Army Vet in Israel

Fatah, the party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, posted a picture on its Facebook page praising the terrorist who killed U.S. Army veteran and graduate student Taylor Force in Israel on Tuesday.

Fatah uploaded a drawing of a knife-wielding arm marked with the text “the heroic martyr” positioned above a single map of Israel and the Palestinian territories. The map was overlaid with the name of Force’s killer, 22-year-old Bashar Masalha.

[Photo: Palestinian Media Watch]Palestinian Media Watch, which initially reported the post, added that Masalha was referred to as a “Shahid,” or Islamic martyr, on official PA television, while his victims were called “settlers.” A translated recording of that broadcast is embedded below.

Masalha, a resident of the Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the West Bank, went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa on Tuesday evening, killing Force, critically injuring his wife, and wounding nine other victims. He attacked motorists and passersby near the beach before being fatally shot by police.

Two Israeli police officers were injured in a shooting earlier that day near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, while a 40-year-old who was raising funds for charity was moderately wounded during a stabbing attack in Petah Tikvah. The man, a Haredi father-of-five, managed to pull the knife out of his own neck and use it to kill his Palestinian attacker.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised Tuesday’s attacks, saying that the group “celebrates the martyrs that have ascended through these operations, and confirms that their pure blood will, God willing, be the fuel for escalating the Intifada.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden harshly criticized “the failure to condemn these acts” on Wednesday in a pointed rebuke to PA leaders, who were also denounced for their silence by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Leading PA officials, including Abbas, have often been accused of inciting violence and glorifying Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis.

Abbas consoled families of terrorists—including the relatives of a man who hacked a Jerusalem rabbi to death in October—during two separate meetings last month, calling the attackers “martyrs.” The first meeting took place hours after three Palestinian men gunned down an Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem. Fatah praised the shooters as “role models.”

The PA also joined Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in honoring an Arab-Israeli gunman who killed three people in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Day, saying he was “one of the most precious martyrs whose name has been inscribed with his pure blood that watered the soil of our free land.” Fatah had similar praise for the terrorist, who died during a shootout with authorities, writing, “may Allah receive you in Heaven.”

According to Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, 34 people have been killed and over 390 injured in more than 320 terror attacks since September 13, 2015. About 180 Palestinians have also died, most while carrying out attacks or clashing with security forces.

[Photo: Palestinian Media Watch]