Stabbing in Tel Aviv Leaves 12 Injured, Three in Critical Condition

TEL AVIV, January 21, 2015 (WAFA) – About 12 Israelis were injured Wednesday in a stabbing incident that took place on a public bus in the center of Tel Aviv, with three of those injured reportedly in a critical condition, said Israeli media sources.

The stabbing comes only two days after a Palestinian Bedouin man was killed on Sunday during the funeral for another man shot dead last week by Israeli forces in southern Israel. Police then fired heavy tear gas canisters toward the mourners, killing Sami al-Zidaneh, 42, as a result of excessive tear gas inhalation. A large number of mourners also suffered from tear gas suffocation and were treated at a nearby local clinic.

Local media reported that Sami Khalid al-Jaar, a young man in his 20s from Rahat, was shot dead by Israeli police while standing on the patio of his home as clashes between police and local youths in the neighborhood.

Haaretz newspaper said a 23-year-old male from the West Bank city of Tulkarem who entered Israel illegally, was shot in the leg by a Prison Service officer on Hamasger Street, near the scene of the incident.

The Anadolu News Agency reported on an anonymous Palestinian security source identifying the young Palestinian as Hamzeh Mohammad Hasan Matrouk, who was born in Tulkram and lived in Ramallah.

Matrouk reportedly attacked Israelis on Bus number 40 on Menachem Begin Road in Tel Aviv. Haaretz said the preliminary investigation shows that he “boarded the bus at the Old Central Bus Station, a short distance from the scene of the attack. After the bus passed two stops and more passengers got on, the attacker took out a knife and started stabbing people.”

Conflicting reports emerged on the actual number of those injured during the operation. According to Haaretz, three Israelis were moderately wounded, and five of the casualties were in light condition, according to Magen David Adom emergency services. Meanwhile, Israel Radio said 15 were injured with five Israelis suffering serious injuries.

Matrouk is now in hospital waiting to be transferred to the West Bank to be brought to trial at the illegal settlement of Ariel near the city of Salfit. He will be tried in a military court in the occupied West Bank, because the knife was bought in the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority of “venomous incitement against the Jews and their state.”

On his part, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman accused President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Chairman of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel Raed Saleh, Members of Knesset Haneen Zoabi, Ahmed Tibi of being behind the attack.

Lieberman linked the stabbing to the protests in Rahat, saying that “those behind the attack stand behind the Rahat riots.”

The killing of the two youths in Rahat did lead to a general strike which was described to have “paralyzed the city of Rahat and all major Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert of southern Israel.”

The ongoing violations, killings and arrests in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are all increasing the sense of frustration and suffocating any hope for peace and a fair solution to the ongoing Palestinian plight.

It is only very recently that Palestinians were denied an independent state of their own at the United Nations Security Council. Israel also froze the tax revenues of the Palestinian Authority, paralyzing its already fragile economy and leaving thousands of civil servant employees in dire need as they wait their salary which barely provides them their basic needs.

As well as the deteriorating financial obstacles, the Israeli disrespect f Palestinians right to a decent life is also increasing the sense of injustice and driving many Palestinian to take extreme measures to seek justice.

Media reports stated that the Israeli forces “has killed 19 Palestinians in the first 81 days of 2014 — an average of one Palestinian every 4.26 days.”

During the aggression on Gaza alone, over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly women, children, elderly and unarmed youth were killed; while 100,000 others were left homeless as their homes got destroyed during the lethal strikes.

According to the Defence for Children International Palestine, “The average number of children held in Israeli military detention stood at 197 per month, largely unchanged from the 2013 figure of 199 per month.”

The Committee of Detainees and ex-Detainees reported that there are currently over 6,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, 500 of which are under administrative detention and 18 of those are members of the legislative council.

The attacks include those committed daily by Israeli settlers in the West Bank against unarmed and vulnerable Palestinians.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) confirmed that the Israeli forces’ cover-up of settlers’ attacks and even support and protection for them encourage settlers to continue their systematic attacks against the Palestinian civilians.

The tension in the territory skyrocketed specially since the gruesome death of teenager Mohammad Abu Khdeir who was burned alive by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, after which a series of attacks by Israeli settlers and reprisals from Palestinians has been exchanged on regular basis.