Abbas’ PLO Faction Calls Killer of 13-Year-Old American-Israeli Girl a ‘Martyr’

Patrick Goodenough | July 1, 2016 | 4:27am EDT
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Hallel Ariel, 13, died after being stabbed in her bed on Thursday, June 30, 2016. (Photo: Ariel family)

( – Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization on Thursday declared a “martyr” a Palestinian who stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl in her bed.

Muhammad Taraireh, 17, then stabbed and wounded a community security guard before he was shot dead by another guard.

The attack that cost the life of Hallel Ariel took place in Kiryat Arba, an Israeli village on the outskirts of P.A.-controlled Hebron that is viewed by the international community as an illegal settlement.

An entry posted on an official Fatah media Facebook page read (in Arabic): “Martyr shot dead by the occupation [i.e. Israel] east of Hebron.”

Another official Fatah Facebook page posted a photo of Taraireh with the caption: “Image of the martyr Mohamed Taraireh, who carried out the operation today that resulted in the death of a settler and the injury of another settler.”

Also posted on the Fatah page was a photo, released earlier by the Israeli Defense Forces, of Hallel’s bloodied bedroom after the attack.

The P.A.’s official news agency, WAFA, headlined its report on the incident: “Israeli Soldiers Kills Teenager Involved in Alleged Stabbing near Hebron.”

“Israeli soldiers Thursday killed a 17-year-old from Bani Naim town east of Hebron under the pretext of carrying out a stabbing attack in an illegal Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron south of the West Bank,” WAFA reported.

“Security sources told WAFA that armed Israeli soldiers opened fire at Mohammad Mahmoud Tarayra [Taraireh] for allegedly stabbing an Israeli settler.”

Further down its report, WAFA said, “Israeli and international human rights groups repeatedly denounced Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy by Israeli forces, which resulted in the death of many Palestinians who did not constitute a threat or who could have been apprehended without the use of lethal force.”

One of Fatah's official Facebook pages posted a photo of 'the martyr Mohamed Taraireh.' (Image: Facebook)

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed that Hallel was a U.S. citizen.

This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable,” he said. “We offer our heartfelt condolences, of course, to her family and to her friends.”

“As we’ve said many times, there’s just absolutely no justification for terrorism,” Kirby added.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to “continue to take strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times.”

“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” he said. “The entire nation deeply identifies with the family's pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us.”

Netanyahu called on the international community to condemn Hallel’s murder, “just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels.”

He also expressed the expectation that P.A. leaders would “clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement.”

“Enlightened nations must join in this demand,” Netanyahu added. “They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens.”

In another attack later Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli man in his 40s and a 62-year-old woman outside a market in the coastal city of Netanya.

A civilian shot and killed the attacker, the Israeli Police reported.

Hallel was the 39th Israeli to be killed in a wave of Palestinian violence that began last fall and include stabbings, car rammings, and shootings.

Over the same period some 220 Palestinians have been killed, according to the P.A. – most of them while carrying out an attack or shortly afterwards, Israel says.

Days after the violence began in mid-September, Abbas declared in a P.A. television interview, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shaheed [martyr] will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

Three months later, Abbas described the wave of knife and gun attacks as a “justified popular uprising.”

And in March, Abbas’ Fatah hailed as a “heroic martyr” the terrorist who was shot dead during an attack in which he stabbed to death American West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force and wounded nine other people in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa district.

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