JERUSALEM, Israel -- An Israeli government minister blamed the Palestinian Authority for contributing to the terrorist murder of an Israeli soldier on Wednesday.
Cpl. Eden Atias, 19, was stabbed to death by a fellow passenger on an intercity bus in the northern Israeli city of Afula. The attacker and the soldier boarded the bus to Afula in Nazareth. The soldier fell asleep en route. When the bus arrived in Afula, the Arab youth began stabbing him repeatedly until other passengers managed to stop him, holding him until security personnel arrived.
The soldier was rushed to Emek Hospital in Afula where doctors were unable to save his life.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called the attack outrageous and said it was a result of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in Palestinian Authority media and school curriculum.
"Although I'm quite confident the Palestinian Authority is going to condemn it sooner or later at least in the English language, as they often do, but they cannot exonerate themselves because of terrible, horrible, impeccable anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement that became really a culture of hatred in the Palestinian Authority, which is sponsored by the government, by President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]," Steinitz told reporters in Jerusalem.
"[That's] the kind of messages that young Palestinians are getting on a daily basis in the government media, but all the more so in the classrooms all over the Palestinian Authority, that sooner or later Israel should be destroyed and sooner or later Jews should be killed or expelled," he said. "This terrible idea that Jews are horrible creatures that corrupt their vicinity, this is also responsible, this terrible, horrible anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish, incitement is also responsible for this act of terror."
Steinitz noted that such incitement is taking place at a time when the two sides are supposed to be negotiating peace.
The terrorist was identified as 16-year-old Hussein Jawadra, a resident of the P.A city of Jenin, who was residing in Israel illegally. He told police he was avenging relatives serving time in Israeli jails. The majority of Arab inmates have been convicted of terror-related crimes such as this one.
One eyewitness told Israel Radio she heard passengers shouting "terrorist, terrorist!" as she walked by.
Following the incident, Israel Police Northern District Command announced increased manpower in all bus stations and major public areas to increase feeling of safety in the district.
In a separate attack near the Yitzhar Ketana Junction in Samaria, Arab terrorists threw a firebomb at an Israeli vehicle, burning it to the ground.