TEL AVIV – Israeli lawmakers said Tuesday’s terror attack in Har Adar near Jerusalem is a “message” to Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt – who arrived the same day in Israel to continue U.S. efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – that the Palestinians are not interested in peace.
According to a White House official, Greenblatt is visiting the country to “continue the peace track” following President Donald Trump’s meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“While President Trump had productive meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas at the United Nations, we always said that the UN would not focus on peace conversations and that those conversations would be happening on a separate track,” the official said in a statement.
“[Greenblatt] will have follow-up meetings in advance of a private trip in the region with his family for [the Jewish festival of] Sukkot. The meetings are part of the Administration’s quiet, steady discussions toward peace,” he said.
However, Greenblatt’s arrival coincided with a terror attack that saw two security guards and one border police officer murdered and another civilian severely injured.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) pledged to “chase down the terrorists, those that send them and those that incite them.” He added that there is no difference between Palestinian terror and Islamist terror in Europe and that before there could even be talk of a renewed peace process, the world must demand the Palestinian Authority end its incitement to terror.
Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz (Likud) echoed Liberman’s words but added that the attack should send a clear message to President Donald Trump’s Middle East negotiator Jason Envoy who is arriving in the country today to continue his mission to resume moribund negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Mahmoud Abbas incites against Israel in the United Nations and a Palestinian terrorist kills three Israelis and wounds one,” Katz, who is a member of the security cabinet, said. “The fact that the terrorist exploited the entry of Palestinian workers into Israel in order to carry out an attack will have serious implications for the ability to employ Palestinians and ease their conditions of passage. The attack is also a message to special U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is visiting Israel today: Israel’s security was and yet remains the supreme consideration in the government’s policy, and is above any other consideration of improving and easing the lives of the Palestinians.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) also referred to the U.S. envoy, describing the attack as “the Palestinians’ welcome greeting to American envoy Jason Greenblatt.” She added that the U.S. must seek to end the “murderous Palestinian terror efforts,” and that any negotiations are worthless as long as the Palestinians continue to incite to terror.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) said at the site of the terror attack that terrorists and their families should be deported to Syria.
Those who engaged in terror, “have to pay a price,” Erdan said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“If you want to live side by side in cooperation, in liberalization and in freedom with the Israelis and work here, you are very welcome. If you want to kill Israeli kids, we will deport you, not to Gaza, but to Syria. You are not allowed to stay here,” Galant said.
“It is not something that started right now and today. If we want to make sure that the roots of terror are eliminated in this region, we need make sure that the Palestinian Authority behaves differently,” Galant added.
Early Tuesday morning 37-year-old father of four Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal drew a gun from his shirt and shot at a group of security guards who were opening the back gates of the Har Adar settlement to allow Palestinian laborers to enter. The three victims included border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.
It was later reported that Jamal’s wife had left him and fled to Jordan after he beat her. Minutes before the attack, Jamal sent her a message via Facebook apologizing for having been a “bad husband.”
Residents of Har Adar were shocked to discover that the terrorist was the same “good-natured” man who had been employed by many of them for years as a cleaner.