The IDF and Israel Police this week arrested two Palestinians from the village
of Halhoul near Hebron, who allegedly threw a rock that killed Asher Hillel
Palmer and his son as they drove near Kiryat Arba last month, the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday.
The two Palestinians
confessed during questioning to throwing the rock at Palmer’s car on September
23, which caused him to run off the road and flip over, killing him and his
infant son, Yonatan.
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Three additional Palestinians were arrested, who
admitted to stealing Palmer’s gun after the fatal crash. The Shin Bet retrieved
the weapon during the course of the investigation.
Initially, the police
and the IDF had downplayed the possibility that stones had been thrown at the scene of the accident near Kiryat
Arba, but after an Israel Police investigation, the Defense Ministry recognized
Palmer and his son as victims of terrorism.
But settlers believe that the
army deliberately misled them and the media, so as not to further inflame the
region because the attack occurred on the same day that Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas delivered his speech on unilateral Palestinian statehood
to the United Nations.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called for
spokespeople, and all those in the security forces who “deliberately deceived”
the public, to be fired.
Settler leaders said they welcomed the IDF’s
determined pursuit of the killers.
The National Union’s chairman Ya’acov
Katz and MK Uri Ariel said that the capture of the Palestinian suspects proved
that the stonethrowing was Arab terrorism designed to kill, and was not the
meaningless activity of children.
Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of
Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said he thanked the IDF
and added that he hoped the army was planning to take this kind of threat more
seriously so that it could prevent future incidents.
Kiryat Arba Council
head Melachi Levinger said he hoped that their capture would calm the area and
restore a sense of security to its residents.
The IDF action improves
security as thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the nearby Cave of
the Patriarchs during the upcoming holidays, Levinger said.