US ambassador accuses Palestinians of ‘praising’ Ben-Gal murder

US ambassador accuses Palestinians of ‘praising’ Ben-Gal murder

David Friedman says he donated an ambulance to the settlement where Itamar Ben-Gal lived and was buried, hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies

American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attends the lobby for Israel-US relations at the Knesset on July 25, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attends the lobby for Israel-US relations at the Knesset on July 25, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The US ambassador to Israel on Monday lambasted Palestinian leaders, accusing them of praising the killer of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on Monday outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Without specifying to whom he was referring, David Friedman charged on Twitter, “Palestinian ‘leaders’ (sic) have praised the killer.”

After the stabbing, a spokesman for the Hamas terror organization, which rules the Gaza strip, lauded the attack as “a continuation of the resistance to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.”

That was in reference to the US president’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcement that the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

On Tuesday, Friedman wrote, “20 years ago, I gave an ambulance to Har Bracha, hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies. Instead, a man from Har Bracha was just murdered by a terrorist, leaving behind a wife and four children.”

Ben-Gal, 29, was stabbed three times in the chest by his assailant, named by security forces on Monday as Abed al-Karim Assi, a resident of Jaffa on the central Israeli coast.

Abed al-Karim Assi, the terrorist who stabbed to death Itamar Ben-Gal at the Ariel Junction on February 5, 2018. (Courtesy)

Assi, who is still at large, had received social service assistance, including at the Shanti Home in Tel Aviv for at-risk youth.

He has Israeli citizenship, which he has used to spend time on both sides of the Green Line. His father lives in Nablus and his mother in Haifa.

Several other ambassadors to Israel also took to Twitter to condemn the attack, among them Australia’s Chris Cannan, who said, “Such violence and terror cannot be justified. Heartfelt sympathies to his [Ben-Gal’s] family and loved ones.”

Norway’s Ambassador John Hanssen-Bauer described the attack as “brutal” and said, “Nothing justifies such violence and terror. It must stop.”

Calling the stabbing “vile,” French Ambassador Helene Le Gal tweeted, “Such an odious act cannot but be strongly condemned.”

Itamar Ben-Gal, who was killed in a stabbing attack in the West Bank, February 5, 2018. (Courtesy)

Canada’s ambassador, Deborah Lyons, said, “Leaders must act to stop violence and terror.”

The British ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, reacted by retweeting a condemnation of the murder by Conservative Party lawmaker Alistair Burt, who said, “There is never any excuse for terror. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.”

Ben-Gal is the second Israeli to be killed in a terror attack in the West Bank in under a month. On January 9, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, was fatally shot near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

At that time, Friedman, a longtime supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, also lashed out at the Palestinians.

“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists,” he tweeted. “Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family.”

After a manhunt lasting nearly a month, Israeli troops on Tuesday morning shot dead Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, 22, the suspected ringleader of the terrorist group believed to be responsible for Shevach’s death. Jarrar, who was armed, was killed in a shootout with the Israeli troops.

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