Israel to freeze funds to Palestinians after Jerusalem murder

Details of the teenage settler's death have been kept secret by Israeli police and military

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 file photo, an Israeli police officer blocks the area where the body of an Israeli woman was found in Jerusalem. Israel's internal security agency said in a statement Sunday Feb. 10, 2019, the murder of a 19-year-old Israeli woman by a Palestinian suspect near Jerusalem last week was politically motivated.(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will freeze money transfers to the Palestinians after the murder of a teenage settler in Jerusalem last week, he said.

Mr Netanyahu is under pressure over corruption allegations before elections and appeared to bow to right-wing ministers over the killing of Ori Ansbacher, 19. On Sunday evening, the prime minister also visited her family and promised that he will make good on his pledge.

Ansbacher’s body was found on Thursday in south-east Jerusalem, and she was buried the next day in her settlement of Tekoa.

Many details about the killing have been kept secret by the military and police for security reasons, but local forces arrested a Palestinian man, 29, in connection with the woman’s death.

The suspect is from the West Bank city of Hebron, and Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, said the crime was nationalistic in motive.

However, the police and Shin Bet had said earlier that investigations had so far not concluded whether it was a “terrorist attack” or driven by another motive.

But in the run-up to general elections in April, politicians and Israeli media appeared to have already made up their minds.

“I have no doubts about the nationalist motives of the murderer,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told public radio.

Mr Netanyahu pledged to freeze money transfers to the Palestinian Authority in line with a law voted in July by ­parliament.

Israel collects about $127 million (Dh466.4m) a month in Customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that go through its ports. This is then transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein Al Sheikh said: “The Palestinian Authority will refuse to receive any cleared funds if Israel deducts a penny from it.” He did not say what the PA’s next step would be.

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it had started preparations to demolish the West Bank home of the suspect being held in connection with Ansbacher’s killing.