US vice president Biden condemns Palestinians for not denouncing stabbings

Published March 9th, 2016 - 01:46 GMT
Israeli security forces stand at the scene of a stabbing attack on March 8, 2016 in the neighbourhood of Jaffa in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv as US vice president arrived in the city for a visit. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
Israeli security forces stand at the scene of a stabbing attack on March 8, 2016 in the neighbourhood of Jaffa in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv as US vice president arrived in the city for a visit. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

US Vice President Joe Biden criticized Palestinians Wednesday for their "failure to condemn" a Palestinian stabbing spree that killed a US citizen.

Biden's first talks in Israel and the Palestinian areas in six years have been marred by a spate of attacks since his arrival on Tuesday.

Biden met former Israeli president Shimon Peres in the southern Tel Aviv suburb of Jaffa late Tuesday, when a Palestinian went on a stabbing spree in the same area, killing US tourist Taylor Force and injuring a dozen others.

Force was a 28-year-old MBA student at Vanderbilt University and a war veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas posted a cartoon on its Twitter account of a hand holding a knife over a map of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, calling the stabber from Tuesday's attack a "hero" and "martyr."

Biden on Wednesday condemned Fatah's glorification of the stabber.

"The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence ... has to stop," he told a morning news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

In a Tweet late Tuesday, Biden said: "Tragic attack in Jaffa today, taking the life of an American. There is no justification for such acts of terror."

Slamming Abbas and his secular Fatah party, Netanyahu said he appreciated Biden's unequivocal condemnation and demanded other world leaders do the same.

Netanyahu called the US victim a "hero" and expressed his "deep condolences."

There were four attacks in Jerusalem and in the Tel Aviv area on Tuesday, in which four Palestinian attackers were killed and some 15 Jewish and Arab Israelis injured.

Palestinians attempted two more attacks on Wednesday, the Israeli police and military said.

Two gunmen were shot dead in Jerusalem when they opened fire in the city from a car, seriously injuring a civilian, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Police engaged the two gunmen in a gunbattle.

Another Palestinian tried to stab a member of the Israeli security forces guarding a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, but was shot dead, the Israeli military said.

Jerusalem was on top alert as Biden met Netanyahu in the city, ahead of evening talks with Abbas in the nearby West Bank city of Ramallah.

Netanyahu conducted an emergency security cabinet meeting overnight, during which several stringent measures were approved.

These include further securing the wall in and around East Jerusalem and building a new security fence in the area of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, where many knife attacks have taken place.

The cabinet also voted in favour of revoking entry permits into Israel of Palestinian workers and harsher punishment for Israelis who illegally drive Palestinian workers with no permits from the West Bank into Israel.


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