Minister Ariel calls for halt of peace talks after West Bank attack

Peres: No one will rest until the trails of the murderers are uncovered and the whole picture becomes clear.

October 11, 2013 12:54
2 minute read.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel speaks to reporters at a ceremony announcing construction in east J'lem.

Uri Ariel speaking to reporters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) on Friday called on Israel to halt direct talks with the Palestinians following the fatal attack of an Israeli man overnight in a settlement in the northern Jordan Valley, Army Radio reported.

Ariel reportedly viewed the killing of Sraya Ofer as a terrorist attack, saying "This murder requires a diplomatic response that includes the suspension of talks [with the Palestinians], halting the release of terrorists and [changing] attitudes toward settlements".

In light of Ofer's murder, the minister vowed to "populate the area and turn it into a flourishing settlement in the Jordan Valley."

Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres on Friday vowed that all force would be exerted to uncover the events surrounding Ofer's murder.

"No one will rest until the trails of the murderers are uncovered and the whole picture becomes clear, Peres said in a statement.

"I want to send my condolences to the family and express my regret for the loss of a senior IDF officer who served his people and his country in a dignified way ," the president said.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Army Radio that Friday's attack joined a series of other attacks in the West Bank that were not related, but formed a disturbing picture.

Danon said that the government should reconsider the continuation of negotiations with the Palestinians and the release of Palestinian prisoners as a gesture for resuming the direct talks.

The deputy defense minister said he suspected incitement from the Palestinian Authority had motivated Friday's attack, Army Radio reported. He also suggested that those responsible for the violent incident in the northern Jordan Valley were forces attempting to undermine the leadership of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel should "decide on building and strengthening Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria," Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) said following the attack and murder of Ofer

The former chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, Dani Dayan also responded to the Friday morning attack by condemning Israel's decision to release Palestinian prisoners.

"Since the release of convicted terrorists last month, three innocent Israelis have lost their lives and a 9-year-old girl was wounded," he said in a statement.

"This cannot be and is not a statistical coincidence. It is clear now, that the process of releasing terrorists should be halted immediately."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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