Four Israelis Dead in West Bank Shooting, Hamas Appears to Claim Responsibility
August 31, 2010
(ChattahBox)—On the eve of peace talks in Washington, between the Israelis and the Palestinians, four Israeli settlers were shot dead, while driving in a West Bank settlement yesterday. Two Hamas spokespersons praised the killings, appearing to take credit for the shootings. Now, hard-liners in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet are calling for an end to peace talks with the Palestinians, right-wing residents are up in arms and tension abounds within the Palestinian Authority, with forces on alert for Hamas insurgents anxious to sabotage the peace talks. The White House, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials, all condemned the shootings.
Haaretz reports the shootings took place near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. “The victims are a couple from the settlement of Beit Hagai and two residents of Kiryat Arba. One of the dead was a woman believed to have been pregnant.”
Hamas spokespersons issued statements condoning the shootings:
“A spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced yesterday that members of the organization carried out the shootings. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the Islamist group praises the attack and considers it a natural response to “the crimes of occupation.”‘
“Another Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said the attack was meant to highlight the failure of the security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.”
The Palestinian Authority, preparing to engage in peace talks in Washington, blasted Hamas for sabotaging the settlement talks with israel.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, said the Israeli government still remains committed to the peace talks in Washington. “We are giving full backing to the prime minister during the talks in the United States,” he said.
The White House statement urged Israel and the Palestinians to continue with the vital peace talks, despite the shootings.
“It is crucial that the parties persevere, keep moving forward even through difficult times, and continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region that provides security for all peoples,” read the White House statement.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Justin McIntosh/Israel’s “Security Fence,” “West Bank Barrier.”