JERUSALEM — An Israeli teenager was killed and her father and brother were wounded on Friday when a homemade bomb exploded near a natural spring in the occupied West Bank, one of many small oases where Palestinians and Israelis seek to cool off but that have become hot spots in the conflict.
Government officials declared it an act of terrorism, and security forces set up roadblocks near Ramallah to try to catch those responsible.
The attack at Ein Bubin, a spring in the wooded hills near the small settlement of Dolev, roughly midway between the cities of Ramallah and Modiin, killed the teenager, Rina Shnerb, 17, the authorities said. She had visited the spring with her father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, and an older brother, Dvir, 19. Both men suffered shrapnel injuries and were airlifted to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The rabbi’s brother, Shmulik Shnerb, spoke to reporters at the hospital, calling his niece, whose home was in the Israeli city of Lod, a “martyr,” saying, “May God avenge her death.”
“I was asked by her father, who is currently lying with injuries from all types of shrapnel and screws, and by her brother, Dvir, who is currently in surgery, to come and to say the following,” Mr. Shnerb said. “Everyone should know, this incident strengthens us to become stronger in the Torah of Israel, in the land of Israel and in our grip on the land of Israel, and to connect with the people of Israel from all walks of life.”
Springs on the West Bank have become flash points between Palestinians who bathe or water their flocks in them and Jewish settlers who have increasingly sought to prevent them from doing so. A 2012 United Nations report identified 30 springs that had been completely “taken over” by settlers and another 26, including Ein Bubin, that were “at risk” of takeover, whether by frequent tourism or by the presence of armed patrols seen as intimidating to Palestinians.
To the settlers, however, the security precautions are necessary, as shown by Friday’s attack, as well as by a chilling murder in 2015 at the same spot.
In the earlier attack, an Israeli, Danny Gonen, 25, also of Lod, was shot and killed after a Palestinian man flagged him down, ostensibly to ask about the spring, and then pulled out a gun. A 31-year-old member of the Palestinian faction Fatah was given two life sentences for the killing and for shooting another Israeli who was with Mr. Gonen.
ImageCreditEPA, via Shutterstock
Rina Shnerb belonged to an Orthodox Jewish outreach group known as a Garin Torani, which seeks to bolster the number of Jews devoted to religious observance. Members of the group said they visited the spring near Dolev frequently.
“The site isn’t guarded well enough,” Roi Ganod, a friend of the Shnerb family, told the Walla news site. “We were there four times in the last two months. We go there a lot. It could have been any one of us.”
The blast was the latest in a spate of terrorist attacks and clashes over the past two weeks in Jerusalem and on the West Bank, beginning with the fatal stabbing of Dvir Sorek, 19, a yeshiva student and an aspiring soldier, outside the settlement of Migdal Oz on Aug. 8.
On Aug. 11, Muslim protesters clashed with Israeli police officers in Jerusalem after the police allowed Jews to visit the Temple Mount on a day holy to both religions, Tisha b’Av, commemorating the destruction of the ancient Jewish temples, and Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.
Four days later, an Israeli police officer was stabbed in the Old City of Jerusalem and the two teenage assailants were shot, one of them fatally. And on Aug. 16, an Israeli teenage brother and sister were injured, the brother critically, in a vehicle-ramming attack at a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Elazar; the Palestinian driver was shot dead.
Several Palestinian militant groups praised Friday’s attack, though none immediately claimed responsibility. In a sermon at a Gaza City mosque, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, said it warned “the Zionists to stay away from the powder keg of Jerusalem, which is exploding and will burn whoever attacks it.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that “the depraved terrorists” would be caught: “We’ll reach them. Israel’s long arm reaches everyone who seeks to kill us and will settle accounts with them.”
Israel has an election on Sept. 17, and Ayelet Shaked, the former justice minister who is battling Mr. Netanyahu for right-wing votes, called Friday’s attack “a punch in the stomach” that damaged the sense of security of every Israeli.
“Today it’s Dolev, tomorrow it’s Tel Aviv,” she told the nationalist news outlet Arutz Sheva.
Rabbi Shnerb, 46, was identified by the newspaper Israel Hayom as a reserve military chaplain who was decorated in February after he discovered two Palestinians hiding outside an army outpost near the settlement of Har Bracha. Religious soldiers had told him of a problem with the eruv, a cable encircling the base for religious reasons. While inspecting it, he spotted the two men and alerted troops, who detained and searched them and found a pistol and a knife.
SOURCE : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/world/middleeast/israeli-teen-killed-west-bank.html