04/03/2009, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Retaliation possible after killing of Israeli teen in Bat Ayin

Joshua Lapide
The teen who was killed and the boy who was wounded may have been victims of the "guilt" of their parents, members of a settlement in the Occupied Territories. Netanyahu and Liebermann halt the peace process; Hamas and Fatah break off reconciliation talks.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Israeli security forces are concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt armed action in order to avenge the death of a 13-year-old boy killed with an ax yesterday by a Palestinian, who also wounded a 7-year-old boy in the settlement of Bat Ayin in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank.

The killer was able to escape, after having penetrated the settlement. The teen who was killed was named Shlomo Nativ, and his parents are among the founders of the settlement, which includes both observant and non-observant Jews. The boy who was wounded is Yair Gamliel, the son of Ofer Gamliel, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for participating in an attempted attack on a Palestinian school in 2002.

Yesterday evening, two Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the killing. These are "Islamic Jihad" and "Imad Moghniye," named after the Hezbollah military leader killed in 2008 in Damascus, whose death was attributed to the Israeli secret service. But from Gaza, "Islamic Jihad" denied all responsibility, while appreciating the act as a response to the "crimes of occupation."

The attack - carried out with an ax and a knife - is a sign of the profound desperation that reigns in the Territories, a few days after the swearing in of the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes many ultranationalist extremists, including foreign minister Avigdor Liebermann.

In his inaugural address, Netanyahu did not even use the expression "Palestinian state." For his part, in a few days Liebermann has derailed the peace process begun in Annapolis, has excluded any concession of the Golan Heights to Syria, and has threatened that there will be no peace if the Palestinians do not control Gaza and demilitarize Hamas.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat says that Liebermann's statement is an insult to everyone, in particular to the world powers that are pushing for peace.

But in the Palestinian camp as well, there are signs of deterioration. Yesterday in Cairo, the factions of Hamas and Fatah broke off their reconciliation talks, which began immediately after the Israeli offensive against Gaza. Before this, they had agreed on the formation of a committee to resolve their differences, and to create a national unity government heading into the general elections scheduled for next year. The committee had begun its work last month, but is now at a standstill because Hamas insists on not wanting to accept previous agreements established between the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.

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