Palestinians blame terrorism on Netanyahu’s peace policies

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority said this week that the fatal attack on an Israeli family in the West Bank was caused by Israel’s refusal to implement the Israeli-Palestinian self-rule accords. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obviously has not “learned the lessens of last September’s tragic events,” the Palestinian statement said, referring to the Palestinian rioting that erupted after Israel opened a new entrance to an archaeological tunnel near the Temple Mount. No condemnation of Wednesday’s terror attack near the settlement of Beit El was included in the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information statement. The statement was issued Thursday, when thousands of Israelis attended the funeral of Ita Tzur, 42, and her son, Ephraim, 12. Five other family members — the father, Yoel, and four daughters — were wounded in the attack. The family was returning by car to Beit El when terrorists opened fire. Speaking with evident emotion at the funeral in Beit El, Netanyahu vowed to strengthen government backing for settlements. “Our answer to these murderers,” he said, “is that we are staying here. We are building here. We live here.” Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel viewed the attack as a serious matter and that the Palestinian Authority must not give shelter to terrorists and child murderers. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred on the 28th anniversary of the front’s founding. The group vowed to carry out more attacks. The terrorists fled to nearby Ramallah, which is under Palestinian self- rule. In its statement, the Palestinian Authority said, “For quite a long time, Palestinian officials and those in the international community have voiced their concern about the possibility of a strong popular reaction to the increasing Israeli measures on the ground, especially on the illegal settling activities being implemented by the hard-line Israeli government.” Netanyahu’s government, “by contrast, has turned its back on these calls of warning,” added the statement, which was posted Thursday on the Web site of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information. (JTA correspondent Naomi Segal in Jerusalem contributed to this report.)

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