The Palestinian Authority called on Friday for “strong and sustained international pressure” on Israel after five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli shooting attack in the West Bank. The Israeli military said the attacker was a 14-year-old resident of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group opposed to peace negotiations with Israel, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the boy was carrying out an operation with a member of its “military wing.” Israel said the Brigades was a terrorist organization that was “connected to Hamas and has ties to ISIS.”
Ahmed Masalha, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority’s security services, condemned what he called “a barbaric terrorist act” that “would only strengthen the barbarism of the Israeli occupation.” He warned the incident, which comes just days after Israel’s deadliest shooting attack since the 2014 Gaza war, demonstrated that the occupation’s “incursions and incursions into Palestinian lands were not meaningless actions, but rather claimed purposeful operations for effectual subjugation of the Palestinian people and collective punishment of them under the pretext of fighting terror.”
Hani al-Masri, a member of the Palestinian Authority’s Executive Committee, called on the United Nations and other international bodies to “immediately impose harsh and severe sanctions on Israel that would be decisive for the liberation of Palestine and the realization of a just peace.”
The rare coordination between both sides came as Palestinians took to the streets in several areas to protest Israel’s moves to cut aid, freeze new contracts with Israeli contractors, and reconsider what aid they will give out next, following Benjamin Netanyahu’s election victory in April. The moves have heightened tensions and raised fears that the Palestinian Authority will soon cease to support Israel’s government. The government, which has known to support financially and otherwise Israel over any dispute with the Palestinian Authority, claimed that Israel’s actions weren’t warranted. In a statement, Israel’s military accused the Palestinians of spreading “misinformation and lies.”
On Friday, Palestinians in the West Bank clashed with Israeli security forces after the shooting, which took place as cars drove through a bustling commercial area. An Israeli civilian was reportedly lightly injured and his driver was taken into custody. A manhunt is now underway for the suspected gunman.
Warning: graphic images