JERUSALEM (Dec. 11)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a stern message to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat this week after terrorists killed two Israelis traveling in the West Bank.
An Israeli woman and her 12-year-old son were killed as a result of the shooting Wednesday near Beit El, a settlement near Ramallah. Five other family members were wounded in the attack.
The family was traveling in a car when the terrorists opened fire with semiautomatic weapons, riddling the car with 60 bullets.
The wounded were evacuated to Jerusalem hospitals. The names of the victims were not immediately released.
Netanyahu said Israel viewed the attack as a grave matter, and that the Palestinian Authority must not give shelter to terrorists and child murderers.
The terrorists fled to Ramallah, which is under Palestinian self-rule.
Israel slapped a total closure on Ramallah. In cooperation with Palestinian police, Israeli soldiers entered Ramallah to investigate a vehicle that was suspected of being used by the terrorists.
Wednesday’s attack came against the backdrop of an impasse in Israeli- Palestinian talks on an Israeli troop redeployment in Hebron. Among the outstanding issues is what powers Israeli troops will have to pursue suspected terrorists into the self-rule areas.
Aharon Domb, the director-general of the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, urged Israel to use its right of hot pursuit to search for the terrorists who carried out Wednesday’s attack.
“The Palestinian Authority must not become a shelter for terrorists,” Domb told Israel Radio. “Today it is for attacks on Beit El, tomorrow it will be everywhere else.”
Israel has protested in the past to the Palestinian Authority over its failure to extradite suspected terrorists who fled to the self-rule areas.
In May, two Israeli high school students were killed in a terrorist shooting near Beit El.
The family of one of those boys, David Boim, issued a statement Wednesday, demanding that Arafat hand over the terrorist responsible for their son’s murder.
Wednesday’s shooting drew sharp reaction from coalition members, who called for the immediate suspension of negotiations with the Palestinians.
The opposition called for the talks’ continuation.