PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is blaming the State of Israel for acts of terror and rioting by Arabs following the death of a terrorist prisoner this week.
Abbas condemned Israel in a statement issued from his office in the PA capital of Ramallah in which he referred to the death of Maissah Abu Hamdiyeh and two PA Arab teens who were killed as they launched a firebomb attack on an IDF army post.
“The Israeli government is liable for the repercussions of these incidents, which will harm American efforts to renew negotiations,” Abbas claimed.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive Sunday in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli leaders, and to also make a trip to Ramallah to meet with PA officials as well in an effort to revive final status talks.
But the prospects for progress in that area looked grim Wednesday and Thursday as violence spread throughout Judea, Samaria and the Jerusalem Ring zone.
Arabs hurled rocks and firebombs at security forces in Hevron and near the Judean PA Arab town of Beit Ummar, as well as near the Jewish towns of Migdal Oz and Efrat – all situated along Highway 60, on the southern end of the route to Jerusalem.
Road terror attacks continued, with Arab attackers hurling rocks at Israeli vehicles traveling the roads of Shomron near Shechem, and in Judea near the Arab town of Halhul. Two buses and a private car were damaged in the attacks, but no injuries were reported.
PA Arab business owners declared a strike and closed their shops at the strong suggestion of PA officials, shutting down in Hevron, eastern Jerusalem and in Shechem.
Security forces went on high alert as funerals were held in Judea and Samaria for an Arab terrorist prisoner who died of cancer, and two Arab teens who had attacked Israeli soldiers but lost the battle.
An autopsy at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute confirmed that Hamdiyeh had died of throat cancer at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva on Tuesday. The 64-year-old terrorist, jailed for life in 2002 for his role in the attempted bombing of the Caffit café in the German Colony neighborhood of Jerusalem, was hailed as a hero and a martyr.
Thousands gathered for Hamdiyeh’s funeral, held Thursday afternoon in Hevron. It became the scene of a major riot, with hundreds of Arabs hurling rocks and bottles at IDF soldiers who were securing the site. Troops responded using crowd dispersal methods when the violence spiraled out of control.
Meanwhile, PA Arab residents of the village of Anabta walked the streets carrying the shrouded bodies of the two teens who hurled flaming firebombs at IDF soldiers near the Jewish town of Einav a day earlier.