Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he opposes violence Sunday, reacting to a terror attack in which a Palestinian teen stabbed an Israeli man to death.
Abbas made the remarks during a meeting with former Israeli politicians, including Ophir Pinez-Paz, Efi Oshaya, Yair Tzaban, Yosef Vanunu and others at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Sunday evening, according to former justice minister Yossi Beilin, who was also at the meeting.
Ari Fuld, 45, was killed in the terror attack outside the Harim Mall at the Etzion junction in the West Bank south of Jerusalem. Fuld, an American-Israeli resident of the Efrat settlement and a father of four, managed to chase down and shoot his assailant before collapsing, preventing further casualties.
Beilin said Abbas appeared “visibly angry about the attack” and commented about his opposition to violence of his own volition at the outset of the meeting with the former Israeli lawmakers.
“He said he’s against violence and while he supports an opposition to Israeli policies, he only supports a peaceful and non-violent one,” Beilin told the Times of Israel Sunday evening.
“He said everyone loses from violence,” he added.
The official PA news site Wafa also reported that Abbas told his Israeli guests that he supports non-violence.
“The President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas affirmed the Palestinian side’s commitment to achieving peace and popular, peaceful resistance because killing, settlement building, destroying and uprooting people will not achieve peace and security for any party in the region,” the Wafa report stated.
However, the Wafa report did not specifically state that Abbas’s comment about “popular, peaceful resistance” was in response to the stabbing.
The assailant was named as 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin of Yatta, a village south of Hebron. He was moderately wounded after being shot and was being treated in an Israeli hospital.
In stark contrast to the PA president, senior Hamas official Husam Badran praised the stabbing, calling it “heroic.”
“Our Palestinian people today received the news of the heroic attack that the revolutionary Khalil Jabarin carried out in the ‘Gush Etsion’ settlement, south of Jerusalem,” Badran said in a statement.
Islamic Jihad also praised the attack in a statement and described it “a natural response to the aggression and crimes that the Zionist terror perpetrates at the expense of the Palestinian people, land and holy sites,” according to the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today.
Abbas has long expressed support for non-violence.
He told Israeli peace activists in a meeting in Ramallah two weeks ago that he supports Israel’s security, underlining that the Palestinian and the Israeli security forces work together “on a daily basis” and that he and his people “do anything possible so that no Israeli gets hurt,” according to Peace Now, whose executive director attended the meeting with the PA president.
Israel and the PA maintain security cooperation in the West Bank.
A senior PA official based in the southern West Bank said Jabarin’s father warned PA security forces that his son had gone missing Sunday morning, after he fought with him about going to school, but did not pass the warning on to Israeli authorities.
“All we knew was that the boy had run away. So we did not inform the Israeli side,” the Palestinian official said. “We did not know he was planning to carry out a stabbing.”
Jabarin’s mother, however, went to the nearby Meitar checkpoint in the southern West Bank and told soldiers, at approximately the same time the stabbing took place, that her son planned to commit an attack, according to the Israeli army.
She did not provide specific details about where or when she believed Jabarin would carry out an attack, the army said.
Israeli security forces planned to arrest members of the terrorist’s family in order to further investigate what information they had about his plans before he carried out the attack, the IDF added.