NEW YORK (Feb. 5)
After Hamas won the recent Palestinian elections, speculation focused on how that victory would change the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic. But events this week suggested that some things, such as the ongoing violence, may stay the same.
On Sunday, a Palestinian man killed an Israeli woman during a stabbing rampage in the city of Petach Tikva.
Four others were wounded in the incident aboard a minibus, which police are calling a terrorist attack.
The assailant was overpowered by a crowd before police arrived to arrest him. The woman killed was identified as Kinneret Ben-Shalom.
Nor was that the only violence over the weekend. Earlier Sunday, Israel killed three Palestinians in an air attack on the Gaza Strip. The three killed in Sunday’s attack are believed to be members of the Al-Aksa Brigade, a terrorist group. Israel said the strike came in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket attack last Friday in southern Israel that left three Israelis wounded.
Despite the violence, Israel said it would release tax revenues to the Palestinians that were frozen after Hamas recently won Palestinian elections. Israel made the announcement Sunday regarding the $55 million in monthly customs duties it collects for the Palestinian Authority. But Israel’s acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said Israel is unlikely to transfer future tax revenues to a Hamas-led government.
In other news, Olmert said a probe into violence at a settler protest last week is unnecessary. Speaking at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Olmert said accusations of excessive force by the police during the Feb. 1 evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Amona should not be investigated because he doesn’t want to politicize the event.
“The police and the army should not be part of political considerations,” Olmert said. “You can’t use the security forces to oust a government,” he said.
More than 200 people, including three Knesset members, were injured in the violence. As of Saturday, 10 were still being treated in hospitals.
On Sunday night, tens of thousands rallied in Jerusalem against what they called an excessive use of police force in quelling the riots.