Mourners stand beside the fresh grave of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin after their funeral at a Jerusalem cemetery.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority leaders refrained over the weekend from commenting on the terrorist attack Thursday in which Eitam Henkin and his wife, Naama, were murdered in a drive-by shooting near Nablus.
Meanwhile, PA and Fatah officials warned Israel against stepping up its crackdown on Palestinians following the attack.
A Fatah-affiliated armed group claimed full responsibility for the shooting attack.
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said that his faction has decided to “defend the Palestinians against attacks by Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers.”
He did not say whether Fatah was indeed behind the attack.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, a senior Fatah official, announced that Palestinians have chosen “martyrdom as their option toward the establishment of a Palestinian state and ending occupation.”
Fayez Abu Aitah, another Fatah spokesman, warned that Israeli retaliatory measures could also target PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “The operation came in response to continued Israeli violations in Jerusalem and other West Bank cities,” he said. “The Palestinian response will be equal in size to the Israeli response.”
Abbas, who returned to Ramallah on Friday, stopped short of commenting on the shooting attack.
Speaking to scores of Palestinians who converged on his mukata presidential compound, Abbas said that he is “committed to every word” he said during his speech at the UN General Assembly last week.
“We commit to every word we said there and, by Allah’s will, are going to work toward implementing it,” Abbas said, referring to his threat to terminate signed agreements with Israel.
Referring to the raising of the Palestinian flag outside the UN headquarters, Abbas said that flags are not only symbols, “but also a sign of glory and dignity.”
He said that the Palestinian flag would also be raised over the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as on mosques and churches.
Shortly before Abbas’s arrival in the city, several Fatah gunmen appeared in the center of Ramallah and opened fire into the air, chanting slogans in support of the PA president.
It was the first time in seven years that gunmen belonging to the Aksa Martyrs Brigades had made such an appearance in Ramallah.
Hours after the terrorist attack, another Fatah armed group, the Martyr Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, claimed responsibility for “heroic operation.”
In the Dehaishe refugee camp, Fatah and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gunmen on Thursday night marched in the streets to celebrate the attack.
Several Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also welcomed the attack, saying it was a “natural response to Zionist crimes against Palestinians.” The factions called on Palestinians to step up their attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers.
They also urged the PA to halt security coordination with Israel.