In a rare move, the leader of a West Bank village on Friday condemned the acts of 17-year-old resident Mohammed Yousef, who carried out a deadly terror attack in a Jewish settlement the previous day.
On Thursday evening Yousef stabbed three residents of the Adam settlement, killing 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia and wounding two others, before he was shot dead.
Ezzat Badwan, the mayor of Kobar near Ramallah, where Yousef lived with his family, said: “I believe that these operations are not correct nor humane. I will never support killing civilians. It is unacceptable and against international, religious and human customs.”
He also urged the IDF not to demolish Yousef’s home, as is common practice by Israel in response to attacks.
“His parents and siblings had nothing to do with what he did. They do not deserve to pay the price for the actions of one of their family members,” he said. He added that the family was relatively poor and would likely struggle to find funds to rebuild its home if it is demolished.
Early Friday morning the IDF took measurements of the Yousef family’s home, a military spokeswoman said.
The army generally carries out measurements of homes in advance of demolishing them, she said, without clarifying if a decision had been made to knock down the family’s residence.
Local groups or factions sometimes collect funds to assist Palestinian families whose homes were demolished, to help them rebuild.
According to Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, however, this is a rare occurrence, and most families are left to fend for themselves.
Badwan added that he was surprised to learn that Yousef had carried out the stabbing attack.
“I would often see him walking around Kobar,” he said. “I would say hello to him and he would be too shy to respond. It is hard to understand how someone so shy would do what he did.”
Kobar was also the hometown of Omar al-Abed, the terrorist who in July 2017 murdered three Israelis during a home invasion and stabbing attack in the settlement of Halamish. Abed was shot during the attack and arrested. His family’s home was razed in the aftermath.
Israeli authorities are looking into a possible connection between the two terrorists.