Posters bearing the face of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in rifle crosshairs and the Hebrew words “assassinate the terror funders” appeared throughout the West Bank Tuesday, part of a campaign launched by a far-right Israeli group.
Palestinians urged international condemnation of the campaign, and police said they were looking into having the posters removed.
The posters were placed inside settlements, at bus stops and along West Bank roads by Derech Chaim, a settler group that calls for public policy in accordance with religious Jewish law, and came days after seven people were hurt in a terror attack near the settlement of Ofra.
The campaign cited payouts from the PA to Palestinians jailed in Israel for security offenses and the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks. According to the Defense Ministry, the PA gives a monthly salary NIS 12,000 to each security prisoner sentenced to over 30 years in prison.
Israel has long pointed to the payouts as incentivizing terror.
“The time has come to say: a murder funder = a murder,” the posters read.
A spokeswoman for the police’s Judea and Samaria (West Bank) District said authorities were aware of the campaign and were looking into whether there is cause to take the posters down due to incitement.
Saeb Erekat, a top aide to Abbas and head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee responded to the campaign saying that Israel bears full responsibility for “the consequences of the unambiguous and inciting calls to assassinate the Palestinian president.”
Erekat said the Palestinian leadership and people were taking the threat seriously and called on the international community to condemn the posters.
Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeinah said the campaign crossed all red lines and the Palestinians were holding the Israeli government responsible, the official Wafa news agency reported.
The Palestinian foreign ministry also condemned the posters and urged international action.
“This incitement is the latest in a systematic and widespread campaign launched by settler terrorists against the Palestinian people,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency.
In a Facebook post explaining the campaign, Derech Chaim criticized the government’s security policy which it claimed has allowed deadly terror attacks to become “part of the routine.”
The group asserted that until the government “eliminates the terrorists’ financiers” such attacks will continue to take place.
The hundreds of posters were hung just days after terrorists in a car opened fire at a group of Israelis standing at a bus stop outside the Ofra settlement, near Ramallah, injuring seven of them, including a pregnant woman who was seriously wounded.
The pregnant woman’s baby was delivered prematurely by C-section. While the mother’s condition has improved, the infant boy is still in critical condition at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
The suspects fled the scene, prompting an ongoing manhunt by Israeli security forces.
Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.