Palestinian kills 3 Israelis outside West Bank settlement
JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis and critically wounded a fourth outside a West Bank settlement before he was shot dead Tuesday, dealing a new blow to the efforts by President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy to restart long-stalled peace talks.
The early morning shooting, which took place as Palestinian laborers were lined up to enter the Har Adar settlement, was one of the deadliest attacks in a two-year spasm of violence. While Israeli leaders condemned the attack, the gunman was identified as a lone assailant motivated by personal problems, leaving Israel with limited options for responding.
Trump’s envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said he was “horrified” by the attack. “All must stand against terror!” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Greenblatt has been shuttling between the sides in search of a formula for restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. But eight months after Trump took office, there has been no tangible progress, and the administration has said it needs more time to draw up a proposal.
Greenblatt, who arrived in the region Monday, is scheduled to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the coming days.
He is sure to get an earful from the Israeli side, which has long accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting violence and complained about his practice of giving stipends to the families of people killed in clashes with Israel, even attackers.
“Before talking about any kind of negotiations, the world must demand of the Palestinian Authority to stop its incitement and encouragement of terror,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Abbas’ office remained silent on the attack. But in the past, while criticizing violence, Abbas has said such attacks are the result of frustration after decades of Israeli occupation.
“Israel holds the responsibility for any Palestinian attack because these attacks come as reactions to the Israeli crimes against our people,” said Munir al-Jaghoub, a midlevel official in Abbas’ Fatah party, in a social media post.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Abbas “to condemn this attack, not try to justify it.”
He said the attacker’s home would be demolished and that permits allowing members of his extended family to enter Israel to work would be revoked. Israeli forces also prevented residents of the attacker’s nearby village, Beit Surik, from exiting, and arrested three of his brothers.