Merah reportedly claimed to police that he was affiliated with Al Qaeda, and he was seeking revenge for Palestinian children killed in the Gaza Strip. But Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the “cowardly” attack yesterday. “This terrorist crime is condemned in the strongest terms by the Palestinian people and our children,” he said. “No Palestinian child can accept crimes against innocent people.” Fayyad went on:
It is time for these criminals to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions, and to stop pretending to stand up for Palestinian children, who only seek a decent life for themselves and for all children of the world.
The missions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO to France also issued a joint statement condemning the attack, noting that “the murderer is driven by a multi-faceted racist hatred.” The move was welcome despite some standing criticisms that Palestinians don’t do enough to discourage violence.