Helsinki Think Tank (HTT) expresses shock and deep sadness at the violence across Israel today, which killed at least five people and wounded a number of others.
HTT referred to the violence as representing the “horrible reality of terrorism in Israel today” and pointed to Palestinian incitement as the major factor in the ongoing terror attacks. According to reports, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a number of Israeli Jews who were in the middle of prayer services in Tel Aviv, killing two and wounding another. Later, near the Gush Etzion settlement of Alon Shvut, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a number of vehicles, killing two Jews, including one American and a Palestinian, and wounding four others.
HTT Chairman issued the following statement:
The violence in Tel Aviv and in Gush Etzion represents the bloodiest day in Israel since this latest round of Palestinian violence began back in September. The ongoing violence is the stark reality of terrorism in Israel today as Jews are brutally attacked while praying, driving on roads, walking in the streets and generally going about their daily lives.
While there are differences between this wave of terror in Israel and the large-scale attacks carried out by Islamic extremists in places like Paris, Beirut and the Sinai, both are carried out by individuals who have no just cause and are motivated by pure hatred and intolerance to harm innocent people. Bigotry, anti-Semitism and bias are clearly the source of this horrific wave of violence. This can never be excused. Such prejudice is reprehensible.
It is unconscionable that voices throughout Palestinian society, including public officials, media outlets and other leading figures, continue to incite hate and violence about Israelis, and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has thus far failed to publicly denounce the onslaught of terrorism across Israel. If President Abbas is serious about cracking down on Palestinian violence, he must do so both in action and words.
HTT express our deepest condolences to all of the victims, including to the family of 18 year-old Ezra Schwartz from Sharon, Massachusetts who tragically lost his life today.