The Headlines

PA fails to condemn murder of Israeli teen; Hamas calls the attack “heroic”

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Palestinian Authority has not publicly condemned the bomb attack at a West Bank spring that killed an Israeli teenager and the terrorist group Hamas has praised the still-unidentified terrorists.

Rina Shnerb, 17, of the central Israel city of Lod was killed, and her father and 19-year-old brother were injured when explosives placed at the Ein Bubin spring were detonated remotely on Friday morning, Aug. 23. The spring, which was named for a terrorist attack victim who died in 2015, is a popular destination for hikers. It is located about six miles east of the central Israeli city of Modiin.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rarely condemns attacks against Israelis, in the West Bank and Israel. The P.A. has a policy of paying stipends to the families of terrorists either in prison or killed in the attacks – a policy that Israel has dubbed “pay to slay.”

P.A. media reports incorrectly identified Rina as both a soldier and a settler, according to Palestinian Media Watch. She was neither.

Hamas in a statement released Aug. 16 called the attack “proof of the vitality and bravery of the Palestinian people, and of the fact that it will not surrender to the crimes and terrorism of the occupation.” Its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, in a sermon in the Gaza Strip called it a “heroic attack,” adding that “the West Bank has strong people who are no less faithful and steadfast than their brethren in Gaza.”

White House special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt reacted to the Palestinian response in a tweet.

“Hamas praised 17yo Rina Shnerb’s murder by Palestinian terrorists. The PA must unequivocally condemn this attack & the recent murder of 18yo Dvir Sorek,” a yeshiva student and Israeli army recruit found stabbed to death near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz earlier this month. “If they don’t, donor countries should demand the PA answer for why their donor funds continue to be used to reward attacks.”

The left-wing organization IfNotNow, which opposes the occupation but does not take a position on anti-Israel boycotts or whether Israel should be a Jewish state, in a statement on Twitter said it was “mourning” the death of Rina Shnerb before adding that “the rightward drift of Israeli and US govts” for “mak[ing] the situation on the ground less safe for Israelis and Palestinians.”

In response to the IfNotNow tweet, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., a Palestinian American who backs the movement to boycott Israel, condemned “extremism” and called for “nonviolent approaches to ending the Israeli occupation.”

“This is absolutely tragic & horrible. My heart goes out to Rina’s family,” her tweet said. “More than ever we need to support nonviolent approaches to ending the Israeli occupation and guaranteeing equal rights for all. Extremism that puts innocent lives at risk moves us no closer to peace.”

Rina’s father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, and his son, Dvir, were injured in the attack.  Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited Shnerb and said: “We weep for Rina, and she deserves our tears, but we also get up and carry on. And it is so important for us to continue to make sure Rina’s voice continues to be heard. Choose life and keep strong.”

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