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Palestinian to be charged with 'hate crime' for stabbing Israeli woman

April 4, 2017 4:24 P.M. (Updated: April 4, 2017 4:43 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces said that a stabbing, which had initially been treated as an attempted burglary in the Israeli town of al-Ludd, was now being considered a “nationalistically motivated” attack, Israeli media reported on Monday evening.

Israeli news outlet Ynet quoted the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, as saying that a stabbing attack, which left a middle-aged Israeli woman moderately wounded in the Palestinian majority city of al-Ludd on March 27, was first treated as an attempted car theft.

The assailant, who was identified as 19-year-old Malik Bassam Ismail Saada from the southern occupied West Bank village of Halhul, was detained a day later.

The young Palestinian, who was reportedly working without a permit in a bakery in al-Ludd, said during interrogation that he “committed the act because he was fed up with his life,” Ynet wrote, and that he had purposefully planned to attack a Jewish woman.

The Shin Bet said that Saada, who had no prior criminal history, would be charged with carrying out a “nationalistically motivated” attack and committing a hate crime.

Israeli authorities have imposed a massive crackdown on undocumented workers in Israel in recent months, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleging in 2016 that since a wave of violence began the previous fall, “a large proportion of (Palestinian) attackers were present in Israel illegally or infiltrated into Israel illegally.”

Data gathered by Ma’an showed that three Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory were killed in 2016 while carrying out attacks inside Israel, out of 109 Palestinians who were killed while carrying out attacks that year. Only one deadly attack -- in which four Israelis were killed -- was conducted inside Israel by Palestinians from the occupied West Bank that year.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel due to crippling unemployment in the West Bank, as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to rights groups.

Palestinians have pointed to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the outbreak of violence. Many Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence has continued to shape everyday Palestinian life, regardless of any recent “upticks” in clashes or attacks.
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