Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reportedly had to be compelled by Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz to publicly condemn Tuesday night’s terrorist shooting in Bnei Barak.
The attack was perpetrated by a Palestinian man from the northern “West Bank.”
Abbas had refrained from condemning two attacks in previous days that were committed by Israeli Arabs.
Israeli media reported that Gantz sent a “stern message” to Abbas insisting that he not remain silent following the Bnei Barak shooting.
Less than an hour later, Abbas’ office issued a statement reading: “[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.”
An unnamed official told The Time of Israel that Abbas’ continued silence would have put in jeopardy a series of goodwill gestures Israel intends to make ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That threat was no doubt passed on to Abbas.
Israel plans to ease security restrictions during Ramadan, which means issuing more permits for Palestinians to work in Israel-proper and allow a larger number of Palestinian men to enter Jerusalem to pray at the Temple Mount.
Amid the current rise in terrorism, however, such gestures make many Israelis uneasy.
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