In a June 8, 2016 shooting attack in Tel Aviv, four Israeli civilians were killed and 6 were wounded. Up until the following afternoon, the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not issue any statement condemning the attack, which was perpetrated by two cousins from the town of Yatta near Hebron, Ahmad Moussa Makhamra and Khaled Muhammad Moussa Makhamra.
On the contrary, Fatah's Recruitment and Organization Commission issued an official statement justifying the attack, calling it a natural reaction to Israel's actions and policy. A former minister in the Palestinian Authority (PA) said the attack was a reaction to the Israeli President's recent visit to Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Only at 14:00 on June 9 did the Palestinian news agency WAFA publish a condemnation by the Palestinian presidency, which stated that the presidency opposed violence against civilians from any side.
Palestinian opposition factions (such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front) welcomed the attack and called its perpetrators "heroes" and "a source of pride."
In several West Banks cities, as well as on social media, there were expressions of joy over the shooting, with many linking it to the month of Ramadan that began two days ago and is known as the month of jihad and victories.
The following is a sampling of the Palestinian reactions to the shooting:
Fatah: The Operation Was A Natural Reaction To Israel's Actions
In a statement it issued in response to the shooting, Fatah's Recruitment and Organization Commission said: "The operation in Tel Aviv was a natural and spontaneous reaction by single individuals to the option of force that Israel has chosen and to the increase in human rights violations [committed] against the Palestinian people by Israel everywhere."
Statement by Fatah's Recruitment and Organization Commission
The head of the commission's information bureau, Mounir Al-Jaghoub, said: "Israel must fully comprehend the implications of [what it is doing, namely] its ongoing promotion of the option of violence; the policy of demolishing homes and of expelling the [Arab] residents of East Jerusalem; the daily invasions by the settler hordes, reinforced by [army] forces, into the Al-Aqsa mosque; and the cold-blooded murder of Palestinians at the checkpoints in the territories that were occupied in 1967... The attack in Tel Aviv came after the voice of all Israelis drowned out the voices of those calling for peace [i.e., the supporters of the French initiative], and after there was no realization of any approach ensuring the Palestinians' rights. The Israeli occupation has a clear policy of employing excessive military force that does not distinguish between men, women and children, and of perpetrating crimes that have become [part of] the daily lives of the Palestinians who facing the Israeli war machine..."
Hassan 'Asfour, a former PA minister, wrote that the attack was the response of the Palestinian youth to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's June 6 visit to Jewish settlements near Ramallah and to the claim that the intifada has ended: "The operation in Tel Aviv came in response to the claim that 'the Awakening of Rage' [i.e., the current intifada] has ended, and to the fact that the [Zionist] entity state does as it pleases without paying any price. More importantly, it is a message that the occupying state and its apparatuses must pay for every crime. The operation in Tel Aviv, carried out by men from [the town of] Yatta [near] Hebron, is a visit [they paid] as a practical response to [President] Rivlin's visit [to the West Bank]. It is as though the Palestinian youth wants to say: one visit in response to another."
Palestinian Presidency: We Oppose Violence Against Civilians From Any Side
Only at 14:00 on the next day did the Palestinian news agency WAFA publish an announcement by the Palestinian presidency, which stated that the presidency "had repeatedly stressed its opposition to actions against civilians from any side, no matter the justification." The statement added that "to achieve peace, everyone must to stop all acts that will increase hatred, tension and resorting to violence."
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP Welcome That Attack, Call It Heroic
Isma'il Haniya, deputy head of Hama's political bureau, welcomed the attack and praised its perpetrators. He tweeted a photo of one of the terrorists (see below), remarking: "This is one of the heroes that carried out the operation in Tel Aviv. A thousand [wishes of] mercy and light upon your good souls."
Hamas spokesman Husam Badran promised "further surprises" in the course of Ramadan: "This operation was the first glad tiding of Ramadan for our people and for the courageous resistance, and the first surprise of those that await the Zionist enemy this Ramadan. The heroic action [carried out] near the Israeli defense ministry [compound] was a severe blow to the prestige of the Israeli defense system. Mushir al-Masri, a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member from Hamas, said: "We welcome the operation in Tel Aviv that brought about the death of four Zionists. It is a natural reaction to Israel's crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, and was meant to signal that the Al-Quds Intifada continues." Daoud Shihab, a senior official in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, clarified: "The people will continue the intifada and defend its right to end the occupation and restore all the Palestinian lands."
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) likewise issued a statement praising the attack: "The quality operation in Tel Aviv and the heroes that carried it out are a source of pride for our people and a quality turning-point in the intifada. [The operation] was a natural reaction to the field executions that the Zionist entity perpetrates against our people... The timing of this operation in the heart of the Zionist entity and close to the Zionist war ministry is a message of defiance directed at the Zionist war minister, Lieberman. It stresses that the resistance option is the best and most effective way to obtain our right by force, and it is also a message of rejecting all the dubious diplomatic initiatives [a reference to the French initiative]."
Expressions Of Joy Among Palestinians
In addition to the statements welcoming the attack, in several parts of the West Bank there were public expressions of joy over it. For example, in the Deheishe refugee camp several dozen young men held a spontaneous victory march, and in Tulkarm residents handed out sweets in celebration of the attack.
Handing out sweets in Tulkarm in celebration of the attack (Facebook.com/QudsN, June 9, 2016)
The family of the two cousins who carried out the attack posted an announcement on Facebook expressing pride in their action. It stated: "Important announcement by the family of the two mujahideen, Khaled and Muhammad Makhamra from the city of Yatta: We are proud of what the mujahideen did... This effort is for the sake of our people and Al-Aqsa and the banner of 'there is no god but Allah'..."
The family's Facebook announcement
Reactions On Social Media: The Tel Aviv Attack Was A Ramadan Operation
Posts on social media stressed the link between the attack and the month of Ramadan, which is known as the month of victories and of jihad. Many of the messages were posted under a special "Ramadan Operation" hashtag that was launched in celebration of the attack. The following are some examples:
An image captioned "The Ramadan Operation" shows a Ramadan pastry with a bullet inside (Facebook.com/Qii.media, June 9, 2016)
"Have a nice iftar" (iftar is the evening meal at the end of each day of the Ramadan fast) (Facebook.com/Palestinian.2na, June 6, 2016)
"May Allah accept your pious deed; #The Ramadan Operation" (Facebook.com/palinfo, June 9, 2016)
"The Ramadan operation killed four Zionists and wounded eight others" (Facebook.com/150484421711559, June 9, 2016)
"We broke our fast with this operation; may Allah accept your fast" (Facebook.com/ramallhacity?fref, June 9, 2016)
 Fatehorg.ps, June 9, 2016.
 Fatehorg.ps, June 9, 2016.
 Karamapress.com, June 9, 2016.
 WAFA (Palestinian Authority), June 9, 2016.
 Wafa.ps, June 9, 2016.
 Twitter.com/IsmailHaniyyeh, June 8, 2016.
 Palinfo.com, June 9, 2016.
 Paltoday.ps, June 9, 2016.
 Paltoday.ps, June 9, 2016.
 Pflp.ps, June 8, 2016.
 Palinfo.com, June 9, 2016.
 Facebook.com/QudsN, June 8, 2016.
 Facebook.com/yatta.now1, June 9, 2016.