Sunday 19 January 2020

Israel vows to retaliate after settler stabbed to death

Tal Ovadia, the wife of slain Yotam Ovadia (31), mourns at his funeral in Jerusalem. Photo: Getty Images
Tal Ovadia, the wife of slain Yotam Ovadia (31), mourns at his funeral in Jerusalem. Photo: Getty Images

Raf Sanchez Jerusalem

Israel will build hundreds of new settlement homes in response to the killing of an Israeli father by a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank, Israel's defence minister said.

A 17-year-old Palestinian crept into the settlement of Adam on Thursday night and stabbed Yotam Ovadia (31) to death.

He wounded two other Israelis before being shot dead.

Mr Ovadia was a father to two young children and was reportedly on his way home to cook a meal for his wife when he was killed.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's defence minister, said the government would respond by approving 400 new homes in the settlement.

"The best answer to terrorism is the expansion of settlements," Mr Lieberman said.

Israel's government often responds to attacks against settlements by promising to expand the settlements even further. Most of the international community believes the settlements are illegal.

Mr Ovadia's killer was identified in Palestinian media as Mohammed Youssef, from the Palestinian village of Kauber. The Israeli military raided the village yesterday morning and questioned several members of Youssef's family.

The army will demolish the family's house as part of a widely-criticised Israeli policy of destroying the homes of Palestinian attackers to try to deter future assaults.

A crowd of around 150 people resisted the military's incursion into the village with rocks and fire bombs, the military said. The two other Israeli men wounded in the stabbing attack in Adam are expected to survive their injuries.

Jason Greenblatt, Donald Trump's peace envoy, denounced the killing as "another barbaric attack" and asked when Palestinian leaders would condemn the stabbing.

Israeli ministers also blamed the Palestinian Authority for the violence, saying it was fuelled by the Palestinian policy of making payments to the families of attackers.

The Palestinian Authority is yet to condemn the attack. It defends the policy of payments as part of a justified resistance to Israeli occupation. Hamas praised the attack as a "heroic action".

The killing of Mr Ovadia and the army raid on Kaubar came amid heightened tensions across the Holy Land. Palestinians clashed with Israeli police outside the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem yesterday. Video showed young men shooting fireworks towards police, who responded with stun grenades.

Large-scale Palestinian protests are also expected at the Gaza border, after a week of on-off fighting between Israel and Hamas. Six Hamas fighters have been killed in the last week, with one Israeli soldier killed and another wounded. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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