State Department: Israeli Girl Stabbed to Death in West Bank Was a U.S. Citizen

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The State Department confirmed on Thursday that the 13-year-old girl who was stabbed to death while sleeping in her bed in the West Bank was a U.S. citizen. The girl, identified by the State Department as Hallel Yaffa Ariel, held dual citizenship and her uncle lives in New York. On Thursday a 17-year-old Palestinian climbed the fence to the settlement where the girl lived with her family and stabbed her multiple times. She later died from her injuries.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby condemned the attack on Twitter:

In a press release issued on the State Department’s website, Kirby wrote:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the outrageous terrorist attack this morning in the West Bank where a 13-year-old girl, Hallel Ariel, was stabbed to death in her home. This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable.

The teenager who stabbed the girl fled the scene but was then shot and killed by security guards. This was only one of many violent attacks that have recently struck the city of Hebron in the West Bank. According to ABC, 33 Israelis, 200 Palestinians, and two American tourists have been killed in stabbings, shootings, and vehicular attacks in the past nine months.

An Israeli journalist posted a video clip from the girl’s funeral, showing hundreds of supporters.

“What makes someone slit the throat of a child? It’s not the quest for peace. It’s the mind flooded with hate and incitement, an ideology that says this child is not a human being,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post . He went on to call the deed an act of terrorism that can’t be tolerated:

We will always fight the terrorists. We will fight their despatchers; we will fight the inciters; we will fight the sponsors. You do battle with terrorism by fighting the terrorists and those who back them.

Hebron is the home of many hundred Jewish settlers who live in a small and tightly guarded area surrounded by over 200,000 Palestinians. The slow–or nonexistent–progress in peace talks between the two nations, bad leadership, and instigation by the media are all named as reasons for consistently high tensions in the region.

In June, world leaders met in France to discuss how to move forward with the peace negotiations. At the meeting, world leaders planned an international conference that is to be held before the end of the year. But as violence continues to flare up in the West Bank, any sort of peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis remains a far off goal.

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



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