Netanyahu calls to end Palestinian payments to attacker families

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center seated, attends the weekly Cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2017
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Netanyahu calls to end Palestinian payments to attacker families

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday accused the Palestinian president’s party of praising Palestinians who killed a policewoman, calling for an end to payments to the families of attackers.
Two Palestinians on Friday opened fire on a group of Israeli officers just outside the walled Old City in annexed east Jerusalem, while a third stabbed a border policewoman a short distance away.
The three perpetrators, all from the West Bank, were shot dead, and the policewoman, Hadas Malka, a 23-year-old staff sergeant major, was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died of her wounds.
“Instead of condemning the attack, Fatah... issued a statement in which it condemn(s) the officers who killed the terrorists, and praised the murderers as heroes,” Netanyahu said, referring to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s party.
A statement by Fatah carried on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa condemned the “killing” of the three Palestinians, without mentioning the circumstances leading up to their deaths.
The Israeli premier was apparently referring to a Fatah poster mourning the “martyrdom” of the three perpetrators in the “heroic” operation, and a series of tweets on a Fatah account referring to their “glory and immortality.”
“Of course, the Palestinian Authority is refusing to condemn the murder and the same authority will now pay financial compensation to the murderers’ families,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
“I call on the countries of the world... to demand an immediate cessation of Palestinian Authority payments to the families of terrorists,” Netanyahu said.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Palestinian Authority had agreed to halt payments to the families of slain attackers, including suicide bombers.
Israel said it saw no evidence of such a decision and the Palestinians would not confirm.
Compensation payments to the families of “martyrs” who die carrying out attacks on Israelis are one of the sticking points in the moribund Middle East peace process.
The Israeli policewoman was buried late Saturday in a military cemetery in the southern city of Ashdod.
Friday’s attack is the latest in a wave of unrest that has rocked Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since October 2015.
Israel accuses the Palestinian establishment of inciting the violence, including by glorifying attackers and supporting their families.
Following the attack, the Israeli army raided Deir Abu Mashal, the village near Ramallah the three perpetrators hailed from, sealing off its entrances and mapping out the homes of the three for demolition.
Netanyahu also revoked 250,000 Ramadan permits for Palestinians from the West Bank to visit their relatives in Israel and Jerusalem, and “instructed the police to reinforce security arrangements and checking procedures in the plaza around Damascus Gate,” the scene of the attack, he said on Sunday.


Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

Updated 20 May 2018
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Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized in the West Bank due to complications after minor surgery last week, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
It was the third time Abbas, 82, had been hospitalized in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalized again briefly overnight on Saturday/Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
A Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas went back into hospital again later on Sunday because his temperature was high “so doctors advised that he go back into hospital.”
Two statements were issued by Wafa on Sunday. The first, half an hour after midnight, said Abbas had gone into hospital “for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at Al-Istishari hospital in Ramallah. At the end of the tests, the results turned out to be excellent,” the statement said, and Abbas left hospital.
A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of Al-Istishari hospital, Dr. Saed Sarahneh, said the results of the medical tests were “good” and that his medical condition was “reassuring.”
A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the high temperature may have resulted from a failure of an ear inflammation to heal completely.
In February, Abbas was hospitalized in the United States for medical checks during a trip to address the UN Security Council in New York.
Abbas became Palestinian president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued US-led peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.
He is also chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a position to which he was re-elected unopposed on May 4.