WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt on Sunday slammed the terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, terming it an “absolutely disgusting” act and calling on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn it.
“Absolutely Disgusting – Terrorists attack a group of Israelis celebrating Hanukkah. My prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Greenblatt said in a tweet. “President Abbas, will you condemn the act this time??”
At least one Palestinian gunman opened fire at a crowd of people waiting at a bus stop outside the Israeli West Bank settlement of Ofra. A pregnant woman was left in critical condition and six others suffered moderate or light injures.
The woman, 21, suffered wounds to her upper body and was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in the capital, where doctors delivered the baby and were battling to save her life. The baby was in a “stable” condition.
A man, 21, with moderate wounds, was taken to the same hospital as were two others who had light injuries. Army Radio said the woman’s husband was among those lightly injured.
The attack occurred on the eighth and final night of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
Outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also responded to the news of the attack, condemning the Palestinian Authority for their practice of paying terrorists.
“A short time ago, a despicable terrorist fired from a vehicle at Israelis – including a pregnant woman – in Ofra. Once caught, the Palestinian Authority will pay the terrorist a monthly salary, as this is part of the PA’s incitement campaign, which encourages such attacks,” tweeted Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
Haley retweeted him, saying “These payments need to stop.”
These payments need to stop. https://t.co/UH8I1W0C4W
— Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley (@AmbNikkiHaley) December 9, 2018
There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority, which rules most of the Palestinian areas of the West Bank.
The Gaza-based Hamas terror group praised the attack as “heroic” but stopped short of claiming credit for the attack.
Soldiers were searching for the gunmen.
The US has repeatedly called the PA’s practice of making payments to terrorists and their families an obstacle to peace.
Families of Palestinians who meet the PA’s definition of a prisoner are entitled to a monthly payment, according to the PA Prisoners and Liberated Prisoners law. The law defines a prisoner as “anyone in the occupation’s prisons for participating in the struggle against the occupation.” Many Palestinians who the PA defines as prisoners have carried out terrorist attacks against Israelis and others and are serving life sentences.
Families of terrorists killed by Israel are also eligible for payments.
Both the US and Israel recently passed legislation targeting the PA’s practice of paying the families of security prisoners, including terrorists. The Trump administration has since cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.