Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, strongly denounced that stabbing attack that was carried out in Itamar settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, leading to the death of five settlers; a father, mother and their three children.According to Israeli media reports, the victims were killed while sleeping in their beds, and include a mother, father, 11-year old, 3-year old and an infant. Another child, 12, reportedly managed to escape to a neighbor’s house to call for help.
While placing the corner stone of a project to build a new City Council building in Jala, near Bethlehem, Fayyad stated that the Palestinian Authority rejects all sorts of violence and will not tolerate it.
Fayyad added that the same way the Palestinian Authority rejects Israeli violence against the Palestinians, it will not tolerate violence against Israelis.
“Violence does not justify more violence”, he stated, “We reject violence, regardless what the motivations are, who the victims are, and who the assailants are”.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed to punish the attackers and demanded Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to help in locating the attackers.
In an official statement released by Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli Prime Minister said that Israel will act firmly to protect its people.
Following the attack, Netanyahu instructed the army and the security services to act on a large scale and apprehend the assailants.
Furthermore, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, instructed the Israeli envoy to the United Nations to file an official complaint.
Lieberman also stated that “the fact that the P.A has not issued an official condemnation of the attack proves the real nature of those who are supposed to be negotiations partners”, according to Lieberman.
Also, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, held separate meetings with security leaders, the Israeli army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, and Shabak head Yuval Diskin, to discuss Israel’s response.
Barak said that the army and the security services will act fast and will use all available means to apprehend the assailants.
On the ground, Israeli soldiers invaded on Saturday at dawn the village of Awarta, close to Itamar settlement, and broke into dozens of homes, including the homes of the brothers of two Palestinians who were killed by the army several months ago near the Itamar settlement, and kidnapped them,.
The kidnapped residents were identified as Mohannad Al Kamel, and his brothers Ahmad and Amjad, and also kidnapped Amjad, Majdi and Mahmoud Faisal Qawareeq, in addition to kidnapping Mohammad Saif Qawareeq, Waleed and Abdullah Jarrah, Moayyad Sahrab, Shadi Sharab, Shadi Awwad, Ali Al Ghazzawi, Yasser Al Ghazzawi, Shadi Nassar, Fadi Nassar and Ayman Faisal.
Furthermore, soldiers imposed curfew on Awarta village, and surrounded its nearby graveyard and initiated a search.
Awarta and all Palestinian villages close to Itamar settlement were placed under strict military siege.
Furthermore, the army installed several roadblock near Nablus, and reinstalled roadblocks that were removed in recent months, such as Al Bathan, Huwwara, and Al Taneeb roadblock.
Soldiers also invaded several villages near Jenin, especially Al Zababda, Sanour and Msalya.
Troops fired flares and used military dogs while searching areas surrounding the villages.
Residents are not allowed to enter or leave the areas especially after the army declared it a closed military zone.
Meanwhile, mayor of the Ariel settlement, close to Itamar, visited the attack site and stated that the Israel needs to locate the assailants and sentence them to death.
Nablus governor, Jibrin Al Bakry, said that the attack in Itamar is an individual act, and that Israel should not respond to it by collective punishment.