JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Security Agency has opened an investigation into the death of a West Bank Palestinian mother of eight, who was killed when a rock thrown at the car driven by her husband struck her in the head.
Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, was killed late Friday night at the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank. Thousands attended her funeral on Saturday.
Her husband told international media that the rocks were thrown from near a Jewish settlement and that he heard people speaking Hebrew, though he did not see them.
The ISA, also known as the Shin Bet, has opened an investigation into the incident. The nationalistic crime unit of the Israel Police West Bank District reportedly also is investigating the woman’s death.
Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that a group of Palestinians throwing rocks mistook the Palestinian couple’s car for an Israeli one, according to the Times of Israel and Haaretz. There is a gag order on the case.
“This is a heinous crime, carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation state. It cannot go unpunished,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported, calling Rabi a “martyr.” Funeral goers chanted nationalistic slogans during the funeral, according to reports.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, on Sunday condemned the incident in an official statement.
“I urge all to condemn violence and stand up to terrorism,” Mladenov wrote, “Such attacks only seek to drag everyone into a new cycle of violence that would further undermine the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”
“I take note that an investigation has been initiated and call on the Israeli authorities to ensure that those responsible are swiftly brought to justice,” he also wrote.
Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin on Sunday told Army Radio in an interview that those blaming Jewish settlers for the incident before all the facts have been uncovered are hypocrites.
“It is impossible to not be aggravated by the hypocrisy of that kind of people, that finds sufficient the scrap of an incident that hasn’t even been checked, and they already known that the Jewish side is guilty,” he said.
“Terror incidents of stone throwing happen every day” against Jewish vehicles, Levin noted. “Not only don’t they condemn the matter, they give the feeling that it is okay because we are ‘occupiers.’ It is quite galling that it takes an incident like this in relation to a Palestinian vehicle for it [stone throwing] to be raised on the agenda.”