US ambassador blasts PA for not condemning latest terror attacks

US ambassador blasts PA for not condemning latest terror attacks

David Friedman protests Ramallah has remained silent in face of ‘such brutality’; President Rivlin says those who support terror are ‘enemies of Israel and the free world’

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the 15th annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group, February 11, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the 15th annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group, February 11, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday slammed the Palestinian Authority for not condemning a spate of deadly attacks that have killed two Israeli soldiers and a civilian in the past four days.

“Tragedy in Israel,” Friedman posted to his Twitter feed. “2 young soldiers, Netanel Kahalani and Ziv Daos, murdered in the north, and father of 4, Adiel Kolman, murdered in Jerusalem, by Palestinian terrorists. Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA! I pray for the families and the wounded – so much sadness.”

Kolman, 32, was stabbed to death as he walked in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday. The killer was identified as 28-year-old Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, a Palestinian from the village of Aqraba, near the West Bank city of Nablus. He was shot dead by police at the scene.

Adiel Kolman, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old city on March 19 2018 (Courtesy)

Kahalani and Daos were killed in a West Bank car-ramming attack on Friday. Two other soldiers were also injured in the attack. The Palestinian driver, 26-year-old Ala Qabha, was taken into custody and confessed to deliberately ramming the soldiers, according to the Shin Bet security agency.

President Reuven Rivlin, speaking at an economic conference in Tel Aviv, on Monday lashed out at those who support terror, in a reference to the PA policy of paying monthly wages to Palestinians who carry out terror attacks against Israelis.

“Whoever gives shelter, pays murderers and encourages incitement is cooperating with terror and becomes an enemy of Israel and the free world,” Rivlin said, according to a Hebrew statement from his office.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at an economics conference in Tel Aviv, March 19, 2018. (Tomer Appelbaum/President’s Office)

“The terror in the streets of our capital Jerusalem, where Jews and Arabs lived together for hundreds of years, is a disaster for all its residents and we will not allow it to become an accepted reality,” Rivlin continued. “We will fight it to the bitter end, and we are able to do so. The whole world must denounce the terror and incitement and cooperate with Israel in the battle against them.”

Both Israel and the US are advancing legislation that would strip the Palestinian Authority of hundreds of millions of dollars if it does not cease its payments to Palestinian prisoners, arguing that they encourage terrorism.

According to the PA Finance Ministry’s 2017 budget, published on its website last July, salaries to incarcerated and released Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are convicted terrorists, would amount to NIS 552 million ($153.4 million) for the year. The budget also allocated $190,869,166 for payments to so-called “families of martyrs,” up from $174,630,296 allocated in 2016.

Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, left, and Cpt. Ziv Daos, right, are identified as the soldiers killed in an apparent car-ramming terror attack on March 16, 2018. (Courtesy)

The families are defined as those with members who were “killed or wounded in the struggle against Zionism,” including those killed while committing attacks against Israelis, or in any other context by an Israeli.

Palestinians argue the payments are a form of social welfare. According to the 2017 budget, the total number of “martyrs’ families” and families with injured members to receive payments is 21,500. In 2016 that number was 19,000.

Tensions between Washington and Ramallah have been running high since US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which was cheered by Israel and furiously rejected by the PA.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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