Hours after a former local politician thwarted a terror attack in the northern West Bank Sunday morning, the official Twitter account run by the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posted an image appearing to threaten him.
Gershon Mesika, formerly the head of the Samaria Regional Council, rammed his car into a Palestinian teenager when seeing her attempt to stab Israeli civilians at a bus stop near the West Bank city of Nablus. The would-be attacker, identified as a 16-year-old girl, was subsequently shot dead by Israeli security forces patrolling the nearby Hawara checkpoint.
The photo posted by Fatah’s Twitter account branded Mesika a “child killer” and depicted him next to a blood spatter with a large target over his face. The image was captioned, “The criminal Gershon Mesika who ran over a Palestinian girl at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus.”
Hamas also responded to Sunday morning’s incident, vowing revenge for the Palestinian teen’s death, which the terror organization called a “war crime.”
“These crimes only encourage us to continue the intifada and defend ourselves in any way possible,” the group’s Twitter page read on Sunday.
Mesika said he filed a police complaint over the image, which he said incites violence against him.
The current head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, urged local authorities not to ignore the incitement against Mesika, and slammed the Israeli government for cooperating with the Palestinian party.
“Israel cannot continue operating like an ostrich. A citizen who risked his a life to save others during a terror attack is now getting death threats from Fatah, which operates in full coordination with the Palestinian Authority,” Dagan said, according to the Hebrew-language news website NRG. “That same authority, which enjoys Israeli taxpayer money, uses those funds to finance incitement in schools, mosques and in the Palestinian media.
“It’s time the ostrich take its head out of the sand and look squarely at the sources of terrorism it finances and participates in,” Dagan added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have repeatedly accused a number of Palestinian groups, including Fatah, of engaging in incitement against Israelis and Jews via official media channels.
Sunday’s attempted attack is the latest in a wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Israel and across the West Bank.
Since October 1, 19 people have been killed, including an Eritrean national, a US citizen and a Palestinian bystander, in near-daily stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks against Israelis, by mainly Palestinian assailants. On Sunday afternoon, an Israeli woman was stabbed to death by a Palestinian at the Etzion Junction, south of Jerusalem.
According to Palestinian officials, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the same time frame. At least half of them were attackers.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.