Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government are the ones responsible for the death of IDF soldier Sgt. Gal Gabriel Kobi, Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki said Monday. Kobi was shot by a sniper while on patrol in Hebron on Sunday.
Netanyahu and “his extremist government” are the cause of the soldier’s death, Zaki said according to an Israel Radio report. Kobi wasn’t “on a sightseeing tour in Hebron,” he added.
The prime minister’s Monday announcement that, in response to the incident, Beit Hamachpela, a building near the West Bank city’s Tomb of Patriarchs which was previously boarded up by order of the Defense Ministry, would be immediately resettled, only “legitimizes settlements and aggression,” Zaki said.
Kobi’s death was the second West Bank killing of an IDF soldier in recent days. A manhunt is still ongoing for his killer. On Friday, Sgt. Tomer Hazan, 20, was lured to a village near Qalqilya in the West Bank by 42-year-old Nidal Amar, who kidnapped and killed him in the hope of trading the corpse for his brother’s release from Israeli prison.
An Israeli official said late Monday that Israel will submit a complaint to the US over insufficient action on the part of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in recent days.
The source said Palestinian security forces did not do enough to prevent the sniper fire that killed Kobi in Hebron on Sunday, adding that the incitement against Israel in Palestinian media continues even as the sides sit down for talks. The official did not stress whether the complaint would include the fact that the Palestinian Authority has yet to condemn the recent murders.
The two killings came amid US-led peace efforts that resumed in July after a nearly three-year break in negotiations.
Earlier Monday, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said the slayings shouldn’t influence Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. “This is no reason to shake off the requirements of the peace [process] in any way,” he told the Ma’an news agency.
A Hamas parliament member in Gaza, Mushir al-Masri, praised the killings in Facebook comments on Monday, Israel Radio reported.
Washington condemned the killing of the soldiers and called on all parties to denounce the slayings.
“Such violence and terror are unacceptable, and undermine efforts to establish the positive atmosphere the parties need to progress in peace negotiations,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement.
The European Union, too, condemned the attacks, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton calling for “maximum restraint” from both sides.
In a statement released Sunday evening, Ashton denounced the killing of Kobi “in the strongest terms,” and said the killing “comes in the wake of several worrying incidents in the West Bank.”
She added that “the EU regrets the loss of life, urges for maximum restraint and reiterates its call to all parties to refrain from actions that could undermine the negotiation process and the prospects of peace,” she said.