Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian man who shot Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick would go to heaven as a martyr.
“With anger, we have received the news of the vicious assassination crime committed by the terrorists of the Israeli occupation army against [your] son Mu’taz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi, who will go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places,” Abbas wrote in a condolence letter sent Saturday to the shooter’s family.
The PA president also expressed his “sincere condolences,” and spoke of Palestinian rights to the land.
Israel Radio’s Gal Berger said an Abbas spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter and posted a photo of it on Twitter.
לפי המופץ בפייסבוק זהו נוסח מברק התנחומים ששיגר עבאס למשפחת המתנקש ביהודה גליק אך לנוסח עצמו לא קיבלתי אימות לפי שעה pic.twitter.com/PvYG6fb9nB
— Gal Berger גל ברגר (@galberger) November 2, 2014
Israeli security services reported that the suspected attacker was killed the next morning by the police’s special anti-terror unit after he opened fire on officers who came to arrest him at his home in the capital’s Abu Tor neighborhood.
Abbas’s letter was roundly condemned Sunday night by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
“While we’re trying to calm tempers, Abu Mazen [Abbas] sends a condolence letter for the death of someone who attempted to commit a despicable murder. It’s time the international community condemn him for such deeds,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
The letter “testifies more than anything else to the fact that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is indeed a partner: a partner for terror, a partner to terrorists, a partner of murderers,” Liberman said in a statement on Facebook.
Abbas’s letter amounts to “open support for terror and encouragement of further murders,” he wrote.
“I call on the international community to reject and condemn this man who is leading the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a violent, frightful place.”
Hijazi, who worked at the Begin Center, had been arrested in 2000 and served 11 years in prison. He had originally been sentenced to six years for membership in the Islamic Jihad terror group and for participation in violent rioting. Additional time was added to his sentence after he was tried for assaulting a prison guard.
Renee Ghert-Zand and Haviv Rettig Gur contributed to this report.