In a rare statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the terrorist attack that took place on Tuesday in Bnei Brak in central Israel in which five people were killed by 27-year-old Diaa Armashah, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Yabad.
Armashah was killed by police at the scene.
“[The president] expressed his condemnation of the killing of Israeli civilians tonight, emphasizing that the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads the situation to deteriorate,” the office of the PA president said in a statement.
Abbas was quoted by Israeli media saying, “we are trying to obtain some stability.” He also warned against using the attack as justification for settler violence against Palestinians.
“This circle of violence shows true, lasting peace is the only solution to maintaining the security and stability for our peoples,” Abbas added.
Abbas made these rare remarks the next day, unlike the previous terror attacks in Beersheva and Hadera, which took place over the past week and were carried out by Israeli-Arabs. According to the Times of Israel, Abbas was allegedly urged by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to condemn the violence publicly.
Gantz has been promoting a series of gestures to Palestinians ahead of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan that begins this weekend. Without a proper public condemnation, such measures could have been put into question under the current circumstances.
The steps are aimed to secure more freedom of prayer and movement for Palestinian worshipers. They include more entry permits for elderly Palestinians to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as well as extended the hours of the permits.
Next week, the Israeli government is expected to raise the number of work permits for Palestinians from Gaza and allow their entry to Israel. As part of the initiative by Gantz, an additional 8,000 permits will be allocated to Gazans. Overall, a total of 20,000 Palestinians will be allowed to work in Israel, according to the Ministry for Regional Cooperation.
While Abbas was compelled to condemn the killing of Israeli civilians, his political movement, Fatah, did not fall in line. The Fatah branches in Jenin and Nablus were quick to celebrate the attack and honor the shooter as “the heroic Martyr” who “bravely defended our people.”
“This is a clear Palestinian message to the world that the Palestinian people adheres to the right to defend its land and its historical right, which has no statute of limitations and is inalienable. This is also a message to the oppressive occupation that the Palestinian response to the occupation’s crimes will dish out twice as much as it’s received,” the Jenin branch of Fatah posted on Facebook.
In cities across the West Bank, Palestinians handed out sweets in the streets, a celebration that traditionally follows such incidents.
Palestinian terror groups in Gaza also praised the deadly attack. Hamas official Mushir al-Masri told Al-Aqsa TV that “the Tel Aviv operation emphasizes the unity of the Palestinian people everywhere they live.”