Israel pointed to ongoing incitement in the Palestinian Authority as the driving force behind a spate of recent terror attacks on Israelis, one of which was fatal, and criticized Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for not speaking out against the incidents.
“The terrorist attacks against Israelis over the last few days are a direct result of the incitement and hatred propagated in Palestinian schools and media,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement on Wednesday. “We are disappointed that so far President Abbas has not condemned these acts of terrorism as one would expect from a partner in peace talks.”
Regev leveled the accusation the day after an Israeli man working on the border fence with Gaza, 22-year-old Saleh Abu Latif, was shot dead by a sniper from within the Hamas-controlled coastal strip. The IAF responded with a series of airstrikes on Hamas targets that were accompanied by fire from IDF ground forces gathered along the border.
According to Palestinian sources in the Strip, two people — a 3-year-old child named Hala Sabiha and her father — were killed during the Israeli strikes, and nine were injured.
The Gaza clashes came alongside a series of terror incidents this week that saw a bomb explode on a bus in Bat Yam on Sunday minutes after the occupants were safely evacuated, and a policeman stabbed in the back in near Jerusalem on Monday. There was also an attempted drive-by shooting at an IDF jeep on Tuesday night that caused no damage or injuries, as well as other attacks on Israeli civilians and police in the West Bank.
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett also blamed the Palestinian Authority for the increase in violence because, he said, it goads the Palestinian population to carry out terror.
“Israel is continuing with the peace process as though there is no terror while the Palestinians are continuing the terror as though there is no peace process,” he wrote in a Monday post on his Facebook page. “The claim that the Palestinian Authority is not connected to the terror attacks is blowing up in our faces every day.”
“When you educate children in terror from the age of kindergarten, when your television broadcasts depict Jews as monsters, when even Tel Aviv is not on your maps — then you are a terrorist,” he concluded.