TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Palestinian Authority for its failure to condemn Friday’s terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, and urged the international community to put pressure on the Palestinians to end the practice of paying salaries to terrorists and their families.
On Saturday, the prime minister demanded that the PA condemn the attack near the Damascus Gate in which a Border Police officer was killed and four others wounded. However, during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu noted that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement instead “issued a statement in which it condemned Border Police officers for killing the terrorists and praised the murderers as heroes.”
Fatah called the death of the three terrorists a “war crime” and added that “the international community’s silence emboldened Israel to further spill the blood of Palestinians.”
Netanyahu blasted the Palestinian leadership for its outright lies.
“Apparently there is no limit to (their) lies and gall. The Palestinian Authority, of course, refuses to condemn the murder, and the same authority will now pay reparations to the families of the murderers,” he said. “I call on world nations to denounce the murder and those who glorify it, and to demand immediate cessation of payments by the PA to the families of terrorists, action that only encourages terror.”
The PA has faced increasing pressure from the U.S. to end payments to the families of terrorists jailed for attacking or killing Israelis. Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the PA had a “change in policy” and intended to end the practice. However, both Israel and the Palestinians rejected Tillerson’s statements, saying that the payments would continue.
Over the past four years, the PA has paid out more than $1 billion to terrorists and their families, amounting to 20% of the foreign aid the PA receives annually.
At Sunday’s meeting Netanyahu expressed his “deepest condolences” to Malka’s family.
“Their sorrow is our sorrow. Their grief is the grief of the entire people,” he said.
“Hadas was young and full of life. She was staunchly devoted to protecting the State of Israel. Her commanders and subordinates loved her and relied on her … she fell during her watch in a determined struggle against bloodthirsty terrorists,” he added.
Netanyahu said security forces were preparing to destroy the homes of the three terrorists in a West Bank village near Ramallah. He added that he had canceled special Ramadan permits for Palestinians to enter Israel.
Armed with an automatic weapon and knives, three Palestinian terrorists carried out attacks at two locations near the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City, wounding four people and killing Malka.
Malka was part of a group of officers who responded to shots heard in the area of the attack. She was stabbed to death when she arrived. Other officers shot and killed the terrorists.
Malka was described by her family as a “fighter who loved people.”
The Damascus Gate has been a flashpoint for several so-called “lone wolf” attacks since the latest wave of violence began in October 2015.