A terrorist truck-ramming in Jerusalem that left four soldiers dead was inspired by the upcoming Paris peace conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Sunday, lashing out at the international community in the wake of the attack.
Hotovely, a hawk from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said the attack, in which an East Jerusalem man drove his truck into a group of soldiers, was proof the Palestinians were not interested in peace.
“The world has received a clear answer from the Palestinians to the peace conference coming up in Paris: More terror,” Hotovely said. “I again call on the international community to demand an end to terror and the industry of education toward it.”
Paris is slated next week to host an international conference aimed at establishing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel, which only backs bilateral peace talks, has said it will not attend and panned the summit as a misguided effort.
Hotovely’s comments came after an East Jerusalem resident rammed a truck into a group of soldiers on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing at least four of them and injuring 16 more.
Police described the incident as a terror attack.
The incident broke a spell of calm for the capital after it was wracked a year ago by a spate of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks.
In response, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israelis to remain defiant in the face of terror.
“Those who incite and inflame and those who support terror must pay a heavy price,” Barkat said in a statement. “I call on all the residents of Jerusalem and the country to continue their lives as usual and to not let terror win.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, in an interview with CNN about the attack, said, “Terror is terror is terror. In Belgium, the US, or Armon Hanatziv.”
The sentiment was echoed by Culture Minister Miri Regev, who wrote on Twitter that “in the renewed Muslim terror there is no difference between the residents of East Jerusalem or Ramallah or Tehran. There is also no difference between live weapons or a truck or a knife.”
Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Aitd party, called for an “uncompromising war on terror.”
“We need to let the security forces continue their work without hindrance and to restore quiet to the capital,” he wrote on Facebook.
Local dignitaries from the international community also condemned the attack.
No group claimed responibility for the assault, but the Hamas terror organization praised it as “heroic.”
Hamas spokesman Hazaem Qassem lauded the attack on his Facebook page, saying, “These operations demonstrate that all attempts to bypass the resistance or to thwart it will fail every time.”
“The continuous operations in the West Bank and Jerusalem prove that the Jerusalem Intifada is not an isolated event, but rather a decision by the Palestinian people to revolt until it attains its freedom and liberation from the Israeli occupation.”
The driver of the truck was identified as Fadi al-Qanbar, a resident of the capital’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, according to Arab media.
The soldiers were visiting the capital as part of the army’s “Culture Sundays,” in which troops are taken to important historical and national sites at the beginning of the week.
Palestinian assailants have used vehicle rammings as a method for terror attacks for years, and the method seemed to have been adopted by European jihadists in recent months, including in an attack in Berlin last month that left 12 dead, including an Israeli woman.
The Haas-Sherover Promenade is a southern location that offers a panoramic view over Jerusalem and the Old City. In May two elderly women were stabbed and moderately injured in a park below the promenade in what police said was a terror attack.