newsU.S.-Israel Relations

US to help family of US-Palestinian teen allegedly shot while stoning cars

The embassy has not acknowledged reports that the teenager died while carrying out acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew arrives at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew arrives at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will continue to provide “all appropriate consular services” to the relatives of Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, a Palestinian-American teen who was reportedly killed while hurling rocks at Israeli cars on a highway in Samaria.

“George Noll, the chief of the Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem, paid a condolence visit to the family and we plan to continue to stay in touch with them about this tragic loss,” a U.S. government official said in a statement shared with JNS this week.

“The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has been in touch with the family and is providing all appropriate consular services. Out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment,” stated the official, adding that the State Department has “no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.”

The statement did not respond to allegations that the teenager died while carrying out acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.

According to multiple Arabic media reports, Jabbar, 17, was killed on Jan. 19 while stoning passing vehicles on Route 60 near Ofra, just south of his hometown of Al-Mazra’a Ash-Sharqiya near Ramallah.

An Israeli soldier or civilian fired on him, at which he attempted to flee by car, the reports suggested, citing eyewitness reports. The vehicle overturned when he was struck by a bullet.

In a statement shared with JNS on Jan. 24, the Israel Police acknowledged reports of a “firearm discharge, ostensibly involving an off-duty law enforcement officer, a soldier and a civilian.”

Police said the shooting “was directed towards a perceived threat, individuals purportedly engaged in rock-throwing activities along Route 60,” the main north-south highway in Judea and Samaria.

Since the 1980s, at least 16 people have been killed as a result of car crashes caused by Palestinian rock-throwers, including 11-year-old Chava Wechsberg, five-month-old Yehuda Shoham, and Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son—all four of them dual Israeli-American citizens.

Between Oct. 7, 2023, and Jan. 15, 2024, Rescuers Without Borders first responders recorded more than 2,600 terror attacks targeting Israelis in Judea and Samaria, including 760 cases of rock-throwing.

The funeral of Palestinian-American Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, who was killed during a clash in Samaria, in Al-Mazra’a Ash-Sharqiya near Ramallah, Jan. 20, 2024. Credit: Flash90.

Jabbar’s mother told Al-Araby Al Jadeed last week that since the family returned to Samaria from Gretna, La. approximately a year and a half ago, he had regularly attacked Jewish drivers in the area of Wadi Haramiya. Her son was “always talking about martyrdom,” she noted.

“Tawfic was an outstanding student in school, and he hoped to become an engineer, but he obtained the greatest certificate in the world by his martyrdom,” Mona Abdel Jabbar said.

Hamas mourned Jabbar’s death, although the terror group did not claim him as a member. Video footage of the funeral procession in Al-Mazra’a Ash-Sharqiya showed terrorists carrying automatic rifles, as well as a Kalashnikov rifle placed on his body.

The Biden administration expects that those responsible for Jabbar’s death “will be held properly accountable” by Israeli authorities, U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told journalists on Jan. 22, describing the incident as “a tragic killing.”

The U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, whose offices are located at the American Embassy to Israel but which is a separate institution, has said it was “devastated” to hear about Jabbar’s death.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old American-Israeli citizen wounded in a Jan. 15 Palestinian terrorist attack in Ra’anana while waiting at the bus stop outside his school has yet to receive consular support from the U.S. government, the victim’s father told JNS last week.

“We thought that we would receive some kind of communication from the U.S. government…I would have expected some level of support as well as their involvement in the investigation,” said Nick Merkin, who is keeping the name of his son, a minor, private.

“Quite frankly, this is a moral and ethical failure,” said Merkin, adding that Washington’s perceived double standard harms the safety and security of U.S. citizens living abroad.

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