A Palestinian teen from the West Bank stabbed an IDF soldier to death Wednesday
morning inside a bus at the Afula bus station.
The soldier was named as
18-year-old Pvt. Eden Atias, a resident of Upper Nazareth. He was on his way
back to his base and, according to some reports, was asleep in his seat when he
Thousands of mourners attended the funeral, which took
place at the military cemetery in Upper Nazareth at 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
Atias’s father, who is currently in prison, was brought to the funeral in his
prison uniform accompanied by Prisons Service guards.
Micky Rosenfeld said the soldier was critically wounded at the scene and taken
to the Emek Medical Center in Afula, where he died shortly thereafter. Rosenfeld
added that the attack is being treated as ideologically-motivated, as the man
told investigators he stabbed the soldier because he has a relative in an
Sec.-Lt. Yitzhak Maimon, an IDF officer who first
arrested the Palestinian youth who carried out the deadly knife attack, told how
he arrived at Afula’s central bus station, when he saw an incident unfolding on
a bus. He described boarding the vehicle, moving to the back seats, and seeing
“a terrorist who seconds earlier stabbed a soldier. Within seconds, when I
understood that this is a terror attack, I took responsibility for the incident.
I directed my weapon at the terrorist, cocked the gun, and the terrorist froze
and gave himself up on the spot.”
Maimon then led the Palestinian to
security guards at the bus station.
“I share the family’s grief and
pain,” Maimon added. “As an IDF commander, I’m confident we’re doing our best to
safeguard the lives of citizens.”
Magen David Adom paramedics said that
at 8:38 a.m.
they received a call that a young man had been stabbed
inside a bus at the Afula bus station.
When they arrived they said they
found the victim in critical condition.
MDA quoted paramedic Hadar Bachar
as saying that when they arrived at the scene they found the victim sitting in a
seat near the back door of the bus, with wounds across his body and in great
pain. He was then taken to the medical center, where later police announced he
The attacker is a 16-year-old Palestinian from the Jenin area,
according to security services. The Prisons Service stated after the killing
that two of his cousins are in prison in Israel.
One of them, Muhammed
Juwadra, is serving three life sentences for the murder of Cartiso Radikov and
Amos Mantiu, a Bezeq employee shot dead in the village of Baka al- Gharbiya in
2003 during the second intifada.
The other cousin is serving a
12-year-sentence for attempted murder.
In response to the stabbing, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said peace cannot occur if this type of Palestinian
“Surrounding the murderer is an education system,
official Palestinian Authority newspapers, mosques and other places in
Palestinian society that are full of incitement,” Netanyahu said. “If we want
real peace, the incitement has to stop.”
Intelligence Minister Yuval
Steinitz agreed, saying that the “horrible” anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli
incitement in the Palestinian Authority is “also responsible” for the soldier’s
Steinitz said while he was confident that the PA “will condemn
it, sooner or later, in English as they often do,” the PA cannot exonerate
itself because of the “terrible, horrible anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
that has become a culture of hatred in the Palestinian Authority, sponsored by
the government and President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas].”
ministry is responsible for monitoring Palestinian incitement, said the message
young Palestinians are being fed on a daily basis in the official PA media and
in the schools is that “sooner or later Israel should be destroyed, or the Jews
killed or expelled.”
“This terrible idea that Jews are horrible creatures
is also responsible for this act of terror, while we are negotiating a peace
deal,” he said at a speech hosted by the Jerusalem Press Club.
to Steinitz, the incitement and culture of hatred that it leads to is the “main
obstacle for peace.”
And incitement, he added, was sponsored not by
“zealots or some members of parliament,” but by the Palestinian
In light of this incitement, he said, many Israelis are asking
themselves whether at the end of any diplomatic process they will get “genuine
peace, or only a piece of paper.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sent his
condolences to Atias’s family, and said that the “war against terrorism, with
much sorrow, has casualties, but we will continue our firm struggle against
terrorism, those who perpetrate it and carry it out.”
aggressively against organizations that seek to activate institutionalized
terrorism against us,” Ya’alon vowed.
He added that attacks by lone
individuals “stems mainly from incitement by the Palestinian Authority, which,
even as we sit with its representatives for talks, continues to educate the next
generation to idolize terrorists and murder Jews, preaches hatred and is
unwilling to recognize our right to exist in any borders.”
Shimon Peres, speaking Wednesday night at the swearing in of Karnit Flug as the
Bank of Israel governor, paid tribute to the memory of Atias.
certain that the government and the state will do all in their power to prevent
incidents of this kind from recurring in the future,” he said.
that day, lawmakers in Netanyahu’s party called for him to stop peace
“The talks are deluding both the Israeli public and the Arabs,”
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said. “We must stop this predictable crash
Danon also called to stop the release of Palestinian
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said “the
Palestinian Authority’s well-oiled incitement system continues to claim
“Mahmoud Abbas has a tactic of indirectly harming
Jews aren’t killed by PA officials but by the ‘Palestinian
street,’ which is fed each day by anti- Israel propaganda. We cannot continue
talking peace while the PA is talking terror,” Hotovely added.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni sent her condolences to the soldier’s family and
wrote on Facebook that now is not the time for political
However, she added that “violence will not bring diplomatic
achievements. We will fight terror and extremism without
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich said that her heart goes
out to the soldier’s family and that she trusts the IDF in its fight against
The Labor leader called on Netanyahu not to use the attack “to
continue sabotaging negotiations, which anyway are bruised and battered taking
place under the shadow of a crisis with the US.”
Bayit Yehudi MKs spoke
out against concessions in negotiations, with Knesset Finance Committee chairman
Nissan Slomiansky saying the stabbing “is a direct result of Israel’s policy of
“We make difficult concessions for which we pay in
human lives, while the Palestinians only talk,” he stated.
situation endangers our sons and daughters while the PA celebrates the release
of murderers. This is intolerable and must stop immediately.”
Mordechai Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said the attack was a result of the IDF not doing
enough to stop Palestinians from illegally entering Israel.
incitement teaches hatred of Jews and calls to destroy us... our security forces
must enforce the law and realize that they can prevent the next murder,” he
Almagor Terror Victims Organization chairman Meir Indor said
“we cannot ignore what is behind the recent chain of terror attacks. It is
encouraged by the American government, which threatens the obedient Israeli
government if they do not release terrorists.”
“The lives of Jews are not
as important to [US Secretary of State] John Kerry as the residents of Boston.
He wouldn’t have released the Chechen terrorist,” Indor added, in reference to
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspected Boston Marathon bomber.
contributed to this report.