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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

A chorus of condemnations came pouring in from across the Israeli political spectrum on Tuesday after a deadly shooting attack at the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others blaming the attack on "systematic incitement" among Palestinian political and religious leaders, as was reported by i24 News.

"This murderous attack is the result of – inter alia – systematic incitement by the Palestinian Authority and other elements and I expect Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to condemn it and not attempt to justify it," Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Security forces will continue to take action against incitement and terrorism as they have been doing night and day and we, of course, will finish the investigation of the incident and will discuss together the next steps," he said, according to an i24 News report, adding that work permits granted to the terrorist's extended family would be revoked and his home demolished.

The attack came as President Trump's specially appointed peace envoy Jason Greenblatt arrived for a visit to the region to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to a TPS report, Israel Border Police said the terrorist who was later identified as 37-year-old Namer Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, a father of four and a day laborer from nearby Bait Surik, possessed a work permit enabling him to enter Har Adar. Jamal had aroused the suspicions of the security coordinator there, and opened fire with a pistol, killing Border Policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, from Har Adar.

TPS also reported that MDA paramedic Nir Buzaglo said, “When I got to the scene I saw four men in their twenties and thirties suffering from gunshot wounds. We did an initial triage and one 32 year old man was conscious suffering gunshot wounds to his stomach. We gave him lifesaving first-aid and evacuated him to the hospital in serious condition. The other three men were unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse, also suffering from gunshot wounds to their upper bodies. We examined them but they did not show any signs of life.”

According to the TPS report, Har Adar Council head Chen Filibovitch said, “The quick response by security officials prevented the terrorist from entering Har Adar and prevented a far worse incident. Let me stress that this incident did not happen inside Har Adar, but rather at the workers’ entrance to the town. Police and Border Police are here sweeping the community and checking things out and schools and kindergartens in Har Adar are operating normally. Dozens of workers come into Har Adar every day, we know them and have never had any problems.”

Local resident Itzhak Rabihiya told TPS that “Every day at about 7:00 security forces and private security guards (hired and paid for by local residents) open the gate for Arab and Palestinian workers who work here in the village. Unfortunately one of the workers shot three security guards and a Border Police soldier.

“The whole village is shocked, we have a very good relationship with Palestinian workers who work here – of course they come here after a security check. This is a very sad moment. We live in an unbalanced area – although for 20 years we have lived together and thought we were secure, we see today that there is no place we are secure.”

Palestinian media reports that the IDF has stormed the village of Beit Sureik, near Ramallah, the attacker’s home town. Fatah said Israeli “occupation” forces are to blame for the attack. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the attack, according to the TPS report.

 Daoud Shehab, head of the Islamic Jihad’s media office said, “The Jerusalem operation embodies the living conscience of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people, as well as rearranging the national priorities that have been mixed up and scattered over the power struggles and political acrimony… it is a practical response to the occupations actions on al-Aqsa.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem: said,“The Jerusalem operation is a new episode in the Jerusalem uprising and a confirmation from the youth that it will continue to fight for the full freedom of the people and the land.” Hamas added: ‘The operation rejects the logic of begging for rights through international institutions. Our people will preserve their rights and sanctities with their own blood and spirit… 

This is confirmation that the natural relationship with the occupation is conflict, and it cannot be a relationship of coexistence. This operation proves that all attempts to change the identity of Jerusalem will not pass, and that all the efforts of the occupation to falsify the facts will not change the fact that Jerusalem is Arab and Palestinian, and that our people will fight until the end to liberate it.”

Munir Al-Jagoub, the head of the Fatah media office said, “Israel must be well aware of the consequences of continuing its push towards the option of violence, the policy of house demolitions, the forced displacement of Jerusalemites, and the successive incursions by the settlers’ flocks to the al-Aqsa Mosque fortresses, reinforced with their forces day and night since 1967.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the Palestinian leadership needed to take action against such attacks or there would be no point in following up on the US initiative to re-launch peace talks.

"The terrible attack at Har Adar is the Palestinian reception for US envoy Jason Greenblatt," she said, as was reported by i24 News.

"The American efforts must focus first of all on ending the murderous Palestinian terror." 

Hotovely renewed the Israeli government's call for the Palestinian Authority to stop paying allowances to the families of those killed or jailed while carrying out attacks, which Israel strongly condemns as encouraging poor Palestinians to turn to terror in a bid to be jailed and gift their families with a better standard of living. 

"There's no point negotiating with someone who just fans the flames of terror and continues to pay terrorists' families," Hotovely said.

i24 News reported that Greenblatt later released his own condolences over the attack, writing on Twitter that "My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror!" and that he was praying for the victims and the relatives.

The US embassy in Tel Aviv lent support to Israeli claims that incitement is a chief cause of Palestinian terror, writing in a statement that the US condemns "statements glorifying terrorism and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated."

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the violence and warned that praise for such attacks undermines peace prospects.

"I condemn this morning's (Tuesday’s) shooting attack by a Palestinian perpetrator in the Har Adar settlement," Mladenov said in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all victims and I hope for a full and speedy recovery of the wounded."

"It is deplorable that Hamas and others continue to glorify such attacks, which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis," he continued.

I24 News also reported that the European Union's foreign policy branch, the EU External Action Service, said in a statement that "there can be no justification for such a crime and attempts by Hamas to glorify the attack are reprehensible. Violence and terror will only achieve more loss and pain and must stop."

Ambassadors to Tel Aviv from France, Australia, Canada and other countries also expressed shock and sadness over the attack on social media. 

Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz (Likud) called the attack "a message to American emissary Greenblatt, who is on a visit to Israel today."

"Abu Mazen incites against Israel in the United Nations and a Palestinian terrorist kills three Israelis and injures one," he said.

In a similar statement, MK Yoav Kish (Likud) and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said that "the murderous attack on Har Adar is the Palestinian reception for the envoy of President Trump."

They urged the government to boost settlement building in the West Bank "to make it clear to the murderers and to the mediators that this is our country, and we will not compromise on it."

Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) called the attack "a direct result of the false incitement of Abu Mazen at the UN," and said it is "further evidence that there is no partner and that any talk of a Palestinian state increases terrorism."

Since coming to power Trump has assigned his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his former lawyer Greenblatt to talk to both Israelis and Palestinians in order to map out a way of reviving on-and-off peace negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority's payments to the families of terrorists has been a major sticking point in advancing a new round of peace talks, however.

The United States has urged that Abbas end the payments as part of its push to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table, and has taken a firmer stance on the issue after the revival of the Taylor Force Act by Congress -- legislation that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to provide financial support to the families of perpetrators of attacks against Israelis.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has nonetheless vowed to continue the payments, defending them as an “internal Palestinian issue” and a “social responsibility” of his government.

Victims of Terror Attack Laid to Rest

Meanwhile, the three victims of the deadly terrorist attack at the entrance to the Jewish town of Har Adar  were laid to rest Tuesday afternoon as was reported by INN.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects to Border Police officer Sgt. Solomon Gaviria, 20, who was one of those murdered in the attack early on Tuesday. 

Police Commissioner Ron Alsheich eulogized Gaviria. "Once again, the Border Police pay a heavy price for being at the front. You, Solomon, were a man of values who put the State of Israel before yourself."

At the same time, the funeral of Or Arish took place. Arish was a resident of Har Adar who served as a guard at the town gate. He was also murdered in the terrorist attack Tuesday morning.

Earlier, security guard Youssef Ottman was laid to rest in his home town of Abu Ghosh. The funeral procession began at the Abu Ghosh mosque and from there proceeded to the cemetery.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev attended Ottman's funeral and said: "We woke up this morning for a horrible morning for your family and friends, and for all citizens. Two people went to work - one good and one evil. One loved life and the other came with weapons of murder. What a chasm exists between these two men."

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog said at the funeral: "Abu Ghosh is the settlement of peace. Today a terrorist came to destroy the fabric of life here. We came from all over the country to tell you, Mr. Mayor, to the residents of Abu Ghosh, and to all the Arab citizens of the country - we have not allowed the terrorist to destroy what we built in Abu Ghosh. Despite the terrible pain, we believe we will overcome."

According to police, the weapon used in the attack was stolen back in 2003, and the Shin Bet security service said that the murderer did not have a record of being involved in terrorism.

Investigators probing that attack point to the terrorist’s troubled family life and a history of domestic violence. According to a report by Kan, Aljamal’s wife left him several weeks ago, moving to Jordan and leaving Aljamal to care for the couple’s four children. 

Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) responded in an interview to Arutz Sheva to the murder attack on Har Adar on Tuesday, saying that next week thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria will be approved for construction, expressing hopes that Jerusalem will also be saved from the construction freeze.

According to Elkin, a member of the political-security cabinet, responsibility for the attack on Har Adar lies with the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmud Abbas. "This is the cost of the incitement atmosphere that exists in the Palestinian Authority.

"As long as the murderer's family receives huge payments, PA leadership cannot absolve itself of responsibility for such attacks," explained Elkin.

Minister Elkin estimates that despite the arrival of American envoy Jason Greenblatt to Israel, there is no expected postponement of granting building permits for thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria. "Greenblatt arrives in Israel every few weeks, so this is not an exceptional event. He is an emissary of the American president and one of the most friendly in our history.

"This is a very amiable person who incidentally like me is a graduate of the Alon Shvut yeshiva. I know that he does not represent the interests of Israel, but of the United States, but we also must represent Israeli interests and the Israeli agenda, and as far as I know, there is no significant delay in the pace of planning and building permits in Judea and Samaria."

Elkin noted that since Trump entered the White House a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria has not been on the agenda: "To the best of my knowledge, all relevant meetings on construction should take place around Sukkot-time.

"I think it's good that the issue of construction - even if we have disagreements with the administration - stopped being a stumbling block or an immediate disagreement with the Americans and this is a significant change from Obama's time. At least according to everything I know, and according to what I was updated near or after the holiday, there will be another large building process involving thousands of housing units, some of which are already marketed, each according to its own situation."

Minister Elkin told Arutz Sheva that he asked the Prime Minister to include Hevron in the housing program. "It is important to see what is included in this stage and what building permits will be accepted. I discussed this with the Prime Minister, including at the Likud ministers meeting today, and I asked to bring up Jewish construction in Hevron.

"Once a plan has taken shape and sits awaiting government approval, it must not be delayed.Other ministers supported my position, and I very much hope that the Prime Minister will take our position into account and that although there may be sensitivities vis-à-vis the Americans, this plan will be advanced in the near future. Hevron is the second most important place after Jerusalem and there was unanimity when I raised this issue," Elkin testified.

Minister Elkin, who also serves as Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister, says Jerusalem is currently suffering from a severe construction shortage. "Jerusalem is not at all in the set of political sensitivity and construction in Jerusalem must progress, it is necessary and critical, and it must be done in every possible way," he said.

"Unfortunately, there are currently almost no building plans available to market in Jerusalem, everything that was available was already marketed, but because of the slowdown in the pace of planning during Obama's time, now we must speed the pace of planning in order to have something to market."

According to him, there is one building plan that has not yet been marketed - the plan at Givat Hamatos. Elkin notes that the plan "is in great political dispute with the Americans and Europe, in my opinion and in my perception, must also be marketed. This is very important to Jerusalem both on the practical level and on the urban topography principle level." 

Edited by: Fern Sidman
(i24 News, TPS & INN)