13yo Israeli stabbed to death in West Bank was US citizen

A view shows the house where a Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl in Kiryat Arba settlement, near the West Bank city of Hebron June 30, 2016 © Mussa Qawasma
A 13-year-old Israeli girl, who died in hospital after being stabbed in her bedroom by a Palestinian assailant in a fenced settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, was confirmed to be a US citizen, the State Department said.

“We have now confirmed that she is a US citizen,” John Kirby, State Department spokesman, said during a news briefing.

Hallel Yaffa Ariel was attacked after an assailant climbed a security fence at the Kiryat Arba Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The incident saw one member of the civilian armed response team wounded, apparently by mistake, as Israeli guards aimed for the young Palestinian assailant, who the Times of Israel says was 17 years old, but Reuters later reported was 19. He was from the nearby Palestinian village of Bani Naim.

The Israeli newspaper reports the first account of the incident, according to which the Palestinian jumped the fence and went straight for the house and into the bedroom. This set off alarms and sent local civilian patrols running to the scene.

The attacker was later shot by the girl’s father and the civilian response team.

Following screams to find the bedroom, they found Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, with multiple stab wounds, local Channel 10 reported. The bed and some walls were reportedly smeared with blood.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly condemned the attack and called for the home of the teenage attacker to be destroyed, and for his family’s West Bank work permits to be revoked.

"The horrific murder of an innocent girl in her bed sheds light on the bloodlust and lack of humanity displayed by the terrorists we are facing," Netanyahu said in a statement.

Since October, 33 Israelis and two US tourists have been killed in the latest bout of Palestinian-Israeli violence. The figure is 198 for Palestinians, 134 of whom Israel says were attackers, according to Reuters.

The Palestinians, as well as a number of international bodies, have tied the Palestinian violence to a feeling of complete helplessness and insecurity over their futures. This includes both the future of the Palestinian state, as well as that of Palestinian homes, which Israel often uproots to make space for Israeli settlements without warning.

Compounding the problem is also the division of holy sites sacred to both Jews and Muslims – most notably Temple Mount (to Jews), or Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary, to Muslims).There are meant to be rules on the ground governing access to it, but things frequently spiral out of control.

The killing of the girl comes on the eve of a report by the US, EU, UN and Russia, which is to propose “confidence-building steps” on the path to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The last time peace talks collapsed was in 2014, when Palestinian hope sank to an all-time low.

Like many before it, diplomats speaking anonymously to Reuters said the upcoming report by the ‘Quartet’ is expected to continue the criticism of Israeli settlement-building on land Palestinians hope will make up an independent Palestine.