Palestinians killed three Israelis on Tuesday near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. This was hours before Israel pledged to lawmakers who decided to put Benjamin Netanyahu back in power as head of the Conservative Coalition.
The attack took place in the industrial area of Ariel settlement and was carried out by a man with a knife, who was later shot dead by soldiers, Israeli officials said.
The West Bank is the Palestinian territory Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and has since been dotted with Jewish settlements, viewing the land as a bulwark of biblical birthright and security .
The religious Zionist party, led by hardline settlers in the West Bank, came third in Israel’s Nov. 1 elections, perhaps winning the most votes under former Prime Minister No. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud. Acquired second partner for incoming government.
In a tweet about the Ariel attack, Itamar Ben Gubir, co-head of Religious Zionism, said “only an iron fist can reduce terrorism”, adding that he would call for looser field rules for soldiers.
He wants to become a police minister. Netanyahu told reporters that a coalition would be agreed soon.
Addressing the Knesset before the 120 new members took office, President Isaac Herzog said that Ariel’s attack “will not succeed in shaking our strength and cohesion.”
“Our domestic debate reflects the power of our democracy,” he said, warning lawmakers of “minorities who fear their needs are not on the agenda.” urged to do so.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has described the man shot after Ariel’s rampage as an 18-year-old from a nearby village.
After entering an industrial area where both Israelis and Palestinians work, Israeli officials said he began stabbing people and rammed at least one person as he tried to flee in his car.
Israeli officials say he has a permit to work in an industrial zone and has no known ties to militants.
In Washington, the US State Department said it was deeply concerned about violence in the occupied West Bank.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children who have been murdered within the last 48 hours,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of refusing to make peace with Israel and has hailed the attack in Ariel. It exercises limited control over the West Bank after failing to control extremists such as Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group that controls Gaza.
The PA, very unpopular in the West Bank, says its hands are tied to Israel and cannot prevent violence against Palestinians by settlers who enjoy military protection.
Palestinians “will not accept the perpetual Israeli occupation,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement. “We will take serious and decisive steps to protect the rights of our citizens and end the reckless Israeli escalation.”