The United States on Monday called for the perpetrators of a rock-throwing attack that killed Palestinian mother of eight Aisha Rabi to be brought to justice, amid suspicions that Israeli settlers may have carried out the assault.
“Saddened to hear of the death of Palestinian mother of eight Aisha al-Rabi this weekend in the West Bank,” the US’s Jerusalem Consulate said in a tweeted statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time. We urge the perpetrators be brought to justice.”
Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s special envoy for Mideast peace, called the incident “reprehensible.”
The comments from the US made no mention of claims the assailants may have been Israeli.
My thoughts & prayers are with Mrs. Aysha al-Rabi’s 8 children & husband. Mrs. al-Rabi was killed when her car was struck by a stone thrown onto the roadway. An investigation into this reprehensible act is ongoing.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) October 15, 2018
Yakoub Rabi was driving with his wife Aisha through the West Bank near Tapuah junction on Friday, when their car was hit by a stone and he lost control and crashed.
Reports have differed on whether Rabi was killed by the crash or by the rock itself. Yakoub has said the rock hit his wife directly in the head and was the cause of her death.
Saddened to hear of the death of Palestinian mother of eight Aisha al-Rabi this weekend in the West Bank. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time. We urge the perpetrators be brought to justice.
— USCGJerusalem (@USCGJerusalem) October 15, 2018
Yakoub told media that he heard people he believes were responsible speaking Hebrew. The Shin Bet said Saturday that it had opened an investigation into the incident, suggesting that it was in fact suspected of being an act of terror carried out by area settlers.
The nationalistic crime unit of the police’s Judea and Samaria (West Bank) District is also probing the death, which has been placed under a gag order, although authorities have not ruled out the possibility that a group of Palestinian stone-throwers mistook Rabi’s vehicle for an Israeli one.
Yakoub on Sunday said he went back to the place where the rock hit his car with Israeli intelligence officers late Saturday night and recounted for them what happened. He said he hoped Israeli authorities would take action to achieve “justice” for his family.
United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Sunday said he condemned the attack and called on Israeli authorities to quickly bring those responsible to justice, noting the stones were “allegedly thrown by Israeli assailants.”
“Such attacks only seek to drag everyone into a new cycle of violence that would further undermine the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” he said in a statement.
On Sunday, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin appeared to downplay the incident, criticizing left-wing activists for blaming Jewish settlers, and saying they were basing their accusations on a “scrap of an incident.”
“It is impossible to not be aggravated by the hypocrisy of that kind of people, that finds sufficient the scrap of an incident that hasn’t even been checked, and they already known that the Jewish side is guilty,” he said.
“Terror incidents of stone throwing happen every day; not only don’t they condemn the matter, they give the feeling that it is okay because we are ‘occupiers,'” Levin said Sunday. “It is quite galling that it takes an incident like this in relation to a Palestinian vehicle for it [stone throwing] to be raised on the agenda.”
Friday’s incident in the northern West Bank came amid high tensions after a pair of terror attacks against Israelis in the area earlier that week.
Last Sunday, two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian coworker in a terror shooting at the Barkan Industrial Park and on Thursday, an IDF reservist was moderately hurt in a stabbing attack outside an army base.
The Shin Bet security service announced the arrest of the suspected stabber hours after Thursday’s stabbing, though Ashraf Na’alow, the suspect in the shooting attack, remains on the run.