U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman stated Wednesday that the reason there is no peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official support for terrorism.
Friedman’s statement came in response to Tuesday’s killing of Raziel Shevah, a 35-year-old Israeli father of six, in a drive-by shooting terror attack near Nablus in northern Samaria, as well as the Palestinians’ celebratory reaction to the attack.
“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards,” Friedman tweeted. “Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family.”
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely replied to the American envoy’s statement by tweeting, “Dear Ambassador Friedman, we deeply appreciate your solidarity with Israel. We value your partnership in the fight against terror and your understanding that the Palestinian Authority’s support of terrorists lies at the root of the problem.”
UN Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov also posted a tweet, both in English and Hebrew, condemning the attack. “There is no justification for #terror and those who condone it, praise it or glorify it. This is not the path to #peace! The perpetrators of yesterday’s attack must be brought to justice,” he wrote.
The attack took place on Israel’s Route 60 near the Jewish outpost of Havat Gilad on Tuesday evening. Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six children and resident of Havat Gilad, was shot multiple times in his neck and upper body in a drive-by shooting attack. He was taken to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba where he was pronounced dead.
According to reports, security forces and paramedics discovered Shevah wounded, with his car’s windshield riddled with bullets. At least one terrorist had opened fire on his car from a moving vehicle near the Jewish community of Havat Gilad.
“I want to send a clear message to our enemies. We will not surrender to terror. We choose life. I want to thank the security forces and rescue teams for their service,” said Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The IDF conducted searches in the area of Nablus and closed off several Palestinian villages amid efforts to track down the terrorists behind the attack. On Wednesday, the IDF significantly increased its forces and bolstered its intelligence operations in Samaria.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the scene of the terror attack Wednesday morning and was briefed on the details of the shooting as well as the IDF’s increased operations in the area.
“The main task at the moment is to locate the [terror] cell and to prevent it from carrying out further attacks,” Eisenkot said.
Hamas issued a statement late Tuesday night praising the attack. “We bless the heroic Nablus operation which comes as a result of the Zionist occupation’s violations and crimes at the expense of our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
Tuesday’s attack comes on the heels of a report by the Defense Ministry that terrorists and their families are well paid by the Palestinian Authority. Terrorists sentenced to three to five years in prison receive an average Palestinian salary of $580 per month. Those who committed more severe crimes and are sentenced to 20 or more years in prison are paid five times that every month for the rest of their lives. Payments to imprisoned terrorists increase in proportion to the length of their sentences. Overall, the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families currently total about $300 million annually.
Shevah, Hy”d, a volunteer medic for the Magen David Adom emergency response group, leaves behind a wife and six children.