Palestinian President, Condemning West Bank Attack, Blames Violence on Israeli Policy

Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of creating a climate conducive to violence through its frequent military operations in Palestinian cities

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Israeli forces and medics are seen at the scene of a shooting attack near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 13, 2018.
Israeli forces and medics are seen at the scene of a shooting attack near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 13, 2018. Credit: AMMAR AWAD/Reuters
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the latest round of violence in the West Bank, criticizing both militant attacks and the tough Israeli response.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and another soldier and a civilian woman were seriously wounded Thursday in a shooting in the West Bank, near the settlement of Ofra.

The deaths extend a violent week that began with a shooting outside a West Bank settlement on Sunday, resulting in the death of a baby who was delivered prematurely after the attack, and continued with the killing of two Palestinians wanted in that and another attack on Israelis in the West Bank.

>> West Bank spirals into violence as Hamas ups efforts to orchestrate attacks | Analysis

Abbas' office issued a statement on Thursday accusing Israel of creating a "climate" conducive to violence through its frequent military operations in Palestinian cities. Abbas also accused Israel of incitement against him.

His statement says that "the absence of the horizon of peace is what led to this series of violence, which we condemn and reject, and for which both sides pay a price."

The statement also added: "Our permanent policy is to reject violence, incursions and terror of the settlers, and the need to stop incitement and not to create an atmosphere that contributes to the aggravation of the situation."

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took to Twitter, condemning the attacks, asserting that the PA "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 Friedman's response to the attacks, December 13, 2018. Credit: Twitter

Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack, with the former's spokesman saying the organization welcomed "the heroic action which is a response to the crimes of the occupation and its behavior," adding that "the youth of the West Bank will continue to fight.

Hamas' political wing chief Ismail Haniyeh said that "what happened today in the West Bank means the situation is starting to change and a new chapter has opened with the occupier through bloody resistance. The blood of Barghouthi and Na'alwa are a point of light for the next generations."

Haniyeh was referring to Salah Omar Barghouti, the son Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti whom Israel sentenced to five consecutive life sentences for involvement in terror attacks, and Ashraf Walid Saliman Na'alwa, who carried out the shooting attack in the Barkan industrial area in October.

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