Israel Approves Construction of 42 Units in West Bank Settlement Home to Slain 13-year-old

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The West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.
The West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.Credit: Mussa Qawasma, Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday approved the construction of 42 housing units in the West Bank settlement in which a 13-year-old girl was killed in her bedroom.

The tender was published a year and a half ago but was frozen after no contractors applied. The bidding process is now re-opened.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that after a number of meetings in recent weeks on the topic it was decided Israel would set up a graveyard for Palestinian terrorists, and thus avoid returning their bodies to their families.

Israel has been reluctant to return the bodies of alleged assailants, citing fears their funeral processions would turn violent and glorify acts of terror.

Ahead of Saturday evening's cabinet meeting, sources close to Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Netanyahu and Lieberman. "These [aforementioned] moves are too little too late and will not stop the viral terror [that] recycle decisions from a year and a half ago.

"It is time for a radical change of direction. This is a new type of viral terror and it demands new actions. It is clear that the terrorists are not deterred and do not fear us. While we mourn, the murderers' families are celebrating and will soon get a nice paycheck [from the Palestinian Authority]."

On Thursday, Hillel Yaffa Ariel was sleeping when the Palestinian assailant, identified as Mohammed Tra'ayra, 19, broke into her house and stabbed her, after jumping over the settlement's perimeter fence.

Netanyahu promised to strengthen the settlement during a Friday condolence call to the Ariel family

The spate of terror attacks will also be discussed by the security cabinet in an emergency meeting on Saturday night.

Two Israelis have been killed and six wounded in four terror attacks since Thursday. Two Palestinian assailants have also died.

In an initial response to the attacks, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Friday that Israel will immediately deduct the amount of money paid monthly by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families from tax proceeds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.