Arab Palestinian terrorists murdered four Jewish civilians in a shooting attack at the Bani Naim junction just south of Hevron Tuesday evening august 31, 2010. Assailants firing from a passing car riddled the vehicle with bullets as it travelled near Hebron a volatile city that has been a flash point of violence in the past.
Emergency service paramedics could do nothing to save the victims whose bodies were riddled with bullets. The terrorists reportedly made sure their victims were dead by shooting them from close range after the initial fusillade. One of the victims was pregnant, stated police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. A Zaka volunteer who arrived on the scene broke down in tears when he neared the car and discovered that one of the victims was his wife. The IDF is combing the area, searching for the terrorists.
Israel’s national rescue service stated the victims were two men and two women. The four were all citizens of Beit Hagai. The victims are a husband and wife, parents of ten, and two passengers. Their names were cleared for publication Tuesday night by local police:
Yitzhak and Talia Ames, parents of six
Kochava Even Chaim
The four were all citizens of Beit Hagga, located between Hevron and Beer Sheba.
Yitzhak and Talya Imes were the parents of six children, the eldest one being 24 years old and the youngest one being a year and a half old. Talya Imes was nine months pregnant when she was killed by the terrorists.
Kochava Even Chaim was a teacher in Efrat. She left behind her husband and an 8 year-old daughter. Her husband,one of the first Zaka first aid volunteers to arrive at the scene, discovered suddenly that his wife was among the victims.
Avishai Shindler had only recently moved to Beit Hagai with his wife.
The funerals of all four victims will take place beginning at 11:00am on Wednesday.
Some 500 Israeli Jewish citizens live in heavily fortified enclaves in the city amid more than 100,000 Arab Palestinian settlers. Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel stated at the scene that serious soul-searching must be done “in order to find out how it is that Israeli Jewish citizens are deprived of the basic right to defend themselves.”
It was the deadliest Palestinian attack against Israelis since March 2008, when a lone assailant gunned down eight students in a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary.
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi arrived on the scene of the attack along with Head of Central Command Major General Avi Mizrahi and Judea and Samaria Commander Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. Ashkenazi stated: “There is no doubt that this is a very difficult event. First, we express our condolences to the victims’ families and to Beit Hagai. We are working in several directions since the event occurred and we will continue to act until we capture the terrorists. IDF along with other security agencies will continue to operate until we capture the murderers who were responsible for this incident. ”
Upon arriving in Washington for this week’s talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and said “terror will not determine Israel’s borders or the future of the settlements.” Borders and the fate of Jewish re-settlements on land Arab Palestinians want for a future state are key issues in the negotiations.
Netanyahu faces some domestic opposition from elements of his hard-line coalition of religious and nationalist parties. He has stated that protecting Israel’s security interests will be his top priority in the talks. Heading into a meeting with Clinton, Netanyahu said in the statement he would tell her, “This criminal murder proves again the need to stand firmly on Israel’s stringent security demands, and there will be no compromise on them.” The attack disrupted a relative lull in the West Bank. The last fatal attack occurred in June, when Palestinians opened fire on a police vehicle near Hebron and killed one officer.
Asked about the shooting, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley stated the U.S. is aware “there are those who will do whatever they can to disrupt or derail the process.”
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak promised a tough response to an attack he said was aimed at sabotaging the talks. “Israel will not allow terrorists to raise their heads and will exact a price from the murderers and those who send them,” he said in a statement.
U.N. envoy Robert Serry issued a statement condemning the attack and urging all parties “not to allow the enemies of peace to affect the negotiations about to be launched.” There is widespread opposition to the resumption of the peace talks among Palestinians. Hamas opposes any contact with Israel and has harshly criticized Abbas for agreeing to resume the negotiations.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s office issued a statement charging the attack was aimed at undermining his government’s effort to build international support for the Palestinian position and ending the (Israeli) “occupation of the Jewish Holy Land.”
Hamas, a fierce rival of the Western-backed Palestinian president, expelled Abbas’ forces from Gaza in 2007 and took over the territory. Abbas has been trying to limit the Islamic militants’ reach in the West Bank, jailing activists and even cracking down on mosque preachers. Hamas, responsible for dozens of suicide bombings in Israel, is considered a terrorist group by the U.S., Israel and European Union.
Opposition to resuming talks is also coming from within the Palestine Liberation Organization, an umbrella group headed by Abbas. Some Fatah activists threaten to try to depose him if he makes concessions and several hard-line PLO groups plan a demonstration in the West Bank administrative capital of Ramallah on Wednesday to protest resumption of negotiations.
The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility. About 3,000 people joined a rally in Gaza to celebrate the attack. Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida was among them and told The Associated Press: “The Qassam Brigades announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron.”
The terror attack is typical of Arab attacks that intentionally target civilian victims. A survey carried out by an Arab Palestinian Authority organization in early August found that among the Arab public in the Palestinian Authority, over 55% view violence as either essential or desirable, nearly 31% see it as either acceptable or tolerable, and only 13.7% say it is unacceptable. Evil knows no barriers, civility, morality or God.
A previous U.S. launching of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks was also accompanied by deadly violence. Palestinian gunmen shot and killed an Israeli in the West Bank before then-President George W. Bush convened Israeli and Palestinian leaders for a summit in Annapolis, Maryland, in November 2007. The gunmen stated the attack was “an act of protest against the Annapolis conference.”