In Rare Remark, Trump Envoy Greenblatt Condemns 'Reprehensible' Killing of Palestinian Woman

'My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Aysha al-Rabi’s 8 children and husband,' special envoy to Middle East peace process tweets

Palestinians carry the body of Aisha Rabi during her funeral in the West Bank village of Biddya, October 13, 2018.
Majdi Mohammed,AP

WASHINGTON – Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, responded on Monday to the death of Aisha Mohammed Rabi, a Palestinian woman who died of a head wound on Friday after settlers allegedly threw stones at her car.

The family has accused Israelis from a nearby settlement of killing Rabi. Police, too, said on Saturday that they suspect the incident was a deliberate act by settlers. The division within the Judea and Samaria District Police that handles far-right activity has been tasked with investigating, with involvement by the Shin Bet security service.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Aysha al-Rabi’s 8 children and husband,” Greenblatt wrote on his Twitter account. “Mrs. al-Rabi was killed when her car was struck by a stone thrown onto the roadway. An investigation into this reprehensible act is ongoing,” Greenblatt added.

Greenblatt’s tweet did not assign blame to anyone for the killing, which took place near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus. The statement, however, did constitute a rare case of a Trump administration official responding publicly to the death of a Palestinian civilian with such language. The administration has not denounced any incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli military forces in Gaza or the West Bank.

Greenblatt's response came a day after the European Union and UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov condemned the incident. "I urge all to condemn violence and stand up to terrorism,” Mladenov said. "Such attacks only seek to drag everyone into a new cycle of violence that would further undermine the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis."

Rabi, 47 was buried on Saturday in Biddya, the West Bank town where she lived. Her husband, Yacoub Rabi, told Haaretz that day he has no doubt settlers threw the stones that killed his wife. 

Aisha Mohammed Rabi.

"There were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young. In such a place and time, no young Palestinian would dare stand there. The Za'atara area [in the West Bank] is always surrounded by a military force, and so it's clear that the settlers did it," Rabi said.