Palestinians reject US accusation after deadly attack

Palestinians reject US accusation after deadly attack
A member of the Israeli security forces aims towards Palestinian protestors during clashes in the West Bank village of Madama after Israeli settlers from Yitzhar settlement reportedly attacked the southern side of the village. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 10 January 2018

Palestinians reject US accusation after deadly attack

Palestinians reject US accusation after deadly attack

RAMALLAH/JERUSALEM: The Palestinian government attacked comments on Wednesday by the US ambassador to Israel blaming it for the failure of peace efforts, after an Israeli settler was killed in the occupied West Bank.
In the latest tensions between them, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused US Ambassador David Friedman of a “prejudiced and selective attitude” toward the conflict.
It comes a month after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, angering the Palestinians.
“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists,” Friedman said on Twitter Wednesday after a 35-year-old was killed near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
“Hamas praises the killers and PA (Palestinian Authority) laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.”
Friedman, a supporter of West Bank settlements, was referring to payments to the families of imprisoned Palestinians, including those who have carried out attacks against Israelis, and to those killed while carrying out attacks.
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group, praised the attack.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Friedman’s comments reflected his “prejudiced and selective attitude toward the occupation, settlement construction, and the Palestinian just and legitimate national rights.”
It pointed to Friedman’s silence over what Palestinians say was the killing by Israeli forces of a disabled Palestinian man during recent protests and clashes on the Gaza border and other killings as evidence of his bias.
“Friedman’s remarks and positions further complicated the road toward the peace process and the resumption of negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, specifically after President Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem,” the statement added.
Israeli forces set up roadblocks and deployed around a major Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank in a manhunt for attackers who shot dead the Israeli settler.
Raziel Shevah was killed late Tuesday while driving near the wildcat settlement where he lived, Havat Gilad near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Some 22 gunshots were found in his car, Israel’s army radio reported. The gunshots reportedly came from a passing vehicle.
“Entrances and exits to and from the villages surrounding Nablus will be possible only after security checks,” the military said in a statement.
“The review of the incident is ongoing. Based on situation assessments, it was decided to reinforce the area with additional forces.”
On Tuesday, Sweden, a big donor country that has recognized Palestine as a state, warned that any US decision to withdraw funds to the UN agency for Palestinians would be destabilizing for the Middle East.
Sweden’s UN Ambassador Olof Skoog said he had raised his concerns with US Ambassador Nikki Haley following reports that the US administration had withheld $125 million in funds due on Jan. 1 for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians.
The Swedish envoy said he did not rule out raising the issue at the Security Council, which is scheduled to hold its regular meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Jan. 25.
New settlements
Israel will approve construction of hundreds of new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday.
Israeli authorities were due to approve on Wednesday the construction of 1,285 housing units to be built in 2018 and advance planning for 2,500 others in about 20 different settlements, Lieberman said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian officials. The Palestinians say Israeli settlements in the West bank, a key issue in peace talks, deny them a viable contiguous state.