On the eve before talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders in Washington, Hamas does its level best to torpedo whatever progress might have been achieved by murdering four civilians, including two women, one of whom was pregnant. Worse, Hamas threatens more attacks. Haaretz reports:
The statement from the armed wing of Hamas, a group that opposes any dialogue with Israel, said the "Qassam Brigades announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron."
"Hamas praises the attack and regards it as a natural response to the crimes of the occupation," said Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, adding that the attack was proof "of a failure of security coordination" between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack, "which goes against Palestinian interests," but the killings begin a conference already suffering from low expectations on a terrible note. The PA said it would take measures to prevent repeat attacks on Israeli settlers on the West Bank, but it's unclear if it has the capacity or the will to track down these terrorists from the Qassam Brigade.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed on the killings soon after his arrival in Washington, and "instructed security services to act without restriction to apprehend the gunmen and to respond to those who dispatched them." According to Haaretz, Netanyahu is expected to tell Clinton that the "atrocious murder proves once again the need to stand firmly and without compromise for Israel's security needs. Terror will not determine the borders of Israel or the future of settlements."