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Axe-Wielding Palestinian Kills Israeli Child in West Bank Settlement

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2 Apr 09 | Times

An axe-wielding Palestinian man went on the rampage in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank today, killing one child and injuring another, in an incident likely to harden tensions with the newly-formed hard-line government.

Security forces said that the man infiltrated Bat Ayin, south of Jerusalem, and killed a 13-year-old boy while injuring another, aged seven. The attacker was believed to have been equipped both with an axe and a knife.

“The security team here managed to shoot and hit the terrorist, but he managed to escape,” Shaul Goldstein, a settler leader, told Israeli Army radio. Mr Goldstein added that the man had still not been found.

Bat Ayin, where the attack took place, was built in 1989 and now has a population of more than 1,000 nationalist-religious Jews. It is one of numerous settlements constructed by Israel on the occupied land that it seized after the region’s 1967 war.

Israeli settlements, which have heavy security protection and are illegal under international law, have often been the scene of sporadic attacks by Palestinians.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack, which comes amid increasing international gloom about the prospects of peace in the region under a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Yesterday Avigdor Lieberman, the hard-line Foreign Minister, said Israeli concessions to the Palestinians would only bring more war and rejected the previous government’s peace talks, launched at a US-sponsored conference in 2007, as having “no validity”.

The talks, which took place in Annapolis, Maryland, were designed to set the wheels in motion for discussions leading to a Palestinian state and a permanent peace treaty with Israel.

Mr Netanyahu has not yet commented on Mr Lieberman’s statement, but a close ally of the Prime Minister, Cabinet minister Gilad Erdan, said that his comments reflected the position of the Likud Party.

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former Foreign Minister who now leads the opposition centrist Kadima party, said that the new government was not a partner for peace with the Palestinians. “What happened yesterday is that the Israeli government announced that Israel isn’t relevant, isn’t a partner,” she told Army Radio.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator said that Mr Lieberman’s remarks were an insult to the world powers pushing for peace. “He has slammed the door in the face of the US and the international community,” Mr Erekat said. “It seems to me that this is President Obama’s first real test.”

Mr Obama is believed to have telephoned Mr Netanyahu to congratulate him on forming a government yesterday. The White House responded to Mr Lieberman’s remarks by saying it was committed to working for a two-state solution. “We will have frank discussions,” a spokesman said.


Written by Editors

2 April 2009 at 7:15 am

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