Netanyahu to Abbas: We will track down those who petrol-bombed Palestinian car

Shin Bet questions Bat Ayin settlement youths on possible involvement in attack that burned Palestinian family; police chief says he won’t give in to extremists; ADL proposes educational initiatives to combat hate

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, June 2012 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, June 2012 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, pledging that Israel would bring to justice the perpetrators of a molotov cocktail attack that injured six Palestinians in a taxi near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin on Thursday night.

Netanyahu sent a message to Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in which he said that he sees the incident as “very serious,” and is committed to finding those responsible. Netanyahu added that he will “closely follow the medical treatment received by those who were injured” and offered to extend whatever additional assistance may be necessary.

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Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said that the police are taking all necessary steps to find the perpetrators of the attack. Danino was quoted by Walla news as saying the incident was “very serious and grave” and pledged that he will “not allow extremist criminals to disrupt… daily life anywhere in the country, especially not in those areas where the balance… is particularly delicate.” Danino further emphasized the sensitivity of this time of year, with the Muslim month of Ramadan coming to a close and the Jewish High Holidays one month away.

According to Army Radio, Shin Bet agents entered Bat Ayin early Friday morning and interviewed several young right-wing activists, between the ages of 13-18, who live in the settlement and are suspected of involvement in the attack.

According to Maariv, a couple, 35 and 27 years of age, suffered second-degree burns in the attack, while their three children and the driver suffered first-degree burns.

Paramedics evacuated the wounded family members, from the village of Nahalin, to Hadassah Hospital-Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.

IDF troops found another firebomb at the scene of the crime and were investigating the circumstances of what the victims described as “a Jewish terrorist attack.” Walla news initially said investigators were looking into whether the attack had been carried out by Palestinians who misidentified their target, but later reported that police believed the attack was indeed carried out by local Jews.

Nahalin Mayor Ossama Shakarneh condemned the attack as “cowardly” and claimed it wasn’t the first of its kind. “The settlers are constantly bombarding us with rocks and attacking Palestinians,” he said.

Davidi Perl, the head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said in a statement that while it is not yet certain whether the incident was in fact a Jewish terror attack, if it was “we indeed strongly condemn it. We denounce all terrorism, whether it is directed against Jews or against Arabs.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday strongly condemned the attack as well.

“We are horrified by these violent attacks against Palestinians but welcome Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pledge to Palestinian President Abbas that the victims of this heinous assault will see justice served,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director. “If the attacks were carried out by Israeli Jewish youth, this violence cannot be seen as isolated incidents. Israeli leadership – political, religious, cultural – must come together to make clear that these manifestations of hate are unacceptable and will not be tolerated, and that country-wide social and educational initiatives must be considered.”

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