The defense establishment's investigation into the attack on 9-year-old Noam Glick in the town of Psagot continued Sunday, with security forces looking for possible leads. Defense sources said that while the incident is considered to have been nationalistically motivated, investigators are also looking into a potential criminal motive.
The young girl was wounded on Saturday night in Psagot, a community located north of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria, adjacent to the Palestinian city of Ramallah. She was rushed in moderate-to-serious condition to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she underwent surgery. Her condition is now stable.
Security forces continued to search the greater Psagot area on Sunday, as well as in the Palestinian town of al-Bireh, just a few hundred yards from Psagot. One of the leads being investigated is that the shooter either came from that town or fled to it after the attack.
Defense sources said that intelligence efforts to locate and apprehend the perpetrator have been increased, and that additional security forces have been deployed in the area. The community's fence, which was breached Saturday, is undergoing repairs.
Over a day after the attack, investigators still have more questions than answers about the incident. For example, it was initially reported that Glick had suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, but the nature of her injuries was later changed to a stab wound, and later still changed back to a gunshot wound.
Also, on Sunday morning the military issued a statement saying that a "makeshift gun" had been found on what was believed to be the perpetrator's escape route from Psagot. That statement was later revised to: "The object suspected as a weapon is not a weapon."
While the premise guiding investigators is that the Psagot incident was a terror attack, it is still unclear why the perpetrator did not go into the Glick family home, waiting instead in the back yard. Another question concerns the child's lucky escape: If the perpetrator shot her at what was described as point-blank range, how was it that he failed to inflict more harm?
One defense source said that it was possible that the man Noam Glick encountered was a burglar, not a terrorist.
Yisrael, Noam's father, recounted the harrowing incident on Sunday: "Noam came back from a Bnei Akiva activity in the community around 9:20 p.m. [Saturday]. At the front of the house she saw man wearing a black hoodie. All she could see were his eyes. According to her account, the man pulled a gun on her. He was less than a meter [3 feet] away and he fired three shots at her. She told us, 'He pointed a gun at me and there were three boom-boom-boom.' She then screamed for help as loudly as she could."
Glick, who spoke to reporters while at his daughter's bedside at the Pediatric Unit at Shaare Zedek hospital, said, "I went outside when I heard Noam screaming 'Daddy, Daddy.' I asked her what was wrong and she said there was an Arab man in the yard. I realized that this was our the greatest nightmare -- a terrorist was in the house, coming to murder us all."
The Psagot attack was widely condemned by the government on Sunday. Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "as long as the Palestinian media continues to promote incitement the Palestinian Authority cannot wash its hands of it."
Minister for International, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz, whose office monitors incitement in the Palestinian media, echoed the statement saying, "If this incitement continues, it would be very difficult to make in progress in the negotiations [with the Palestinian Authority] or to reach any kind of agreement."
Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom said, "if there is terror, the peace process will be suspended."
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, on the other hand, said that "the efforts we make towards peace must be stepped up now, because that is the only answer to terrorists who seek to destabilize the region."
President Shimon Peres advised waiting for the investigation's results. "Until then, I wish Noam a speedy recovery," he said.
Likud MKs Tzipi Hotovely, Ofir Akunis and Zeev Elkin visited the scene of the attack ion Sunday afternoon and urged the prime minister and the cabinet to suspend the peace talks, as well as the next phase of the planned release of Palestinian prisoners, promised by Israel as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority upon the resumption of peace talks.
"I urge the prime minister to annul the prisoners' release. He must reveal to the world the hypocrisy of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria in the same manner in which he is trying to make the world aware of the Iranian deception," Hotovely said.
And Elkin said: "The security in [Psagot] has to be increased, but mostly we have to reinforce the settlement [enterprise]. If the Arabs are made to understand that any place that sees a terror attack will see the construction of a new community or a new neighborhood that the terror will stop. The decision of the release of Palestinian prisoners must be annulled. This isn't the first time that the other side has taken our willingness to negotiate as a sign of weakness. They have to understand that we will not let them have their way,"
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee member MK Yoni Chetboun (Habayit Hayehudi), who also visited Psagot on Sunday, said, "Saturday's incident cannot be disconnected from the two previous terror attacks," referring to the murders of Israeli soldiers Staff Sgt. Gal (Gabriel) Kobi, 20, on Sept. 19, and Sgt. Tomer Hazan, 20, on Sept. 21.
"Israel has been given a reminder that while it is busy talking peace, the other side is talking war," he said. "The potential release of Palestinian prisoners is what fuels the terror groups' motivation. Terror is not curtailed by gestures but by deterrence. When Israel releases terrorists, terror groups feel comfortable rearing their heads. It is our responsibility as MKs to stop this criminal folly."
Meanwhile, a delegation of 15 MKs representing the Lobby for the Promotion of a Solution for the Israeli-Arab Conflict will meet Monday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
"This meeting will include MKs from across the political spectrum, from the coalition and the opposition," Lobby Chairman MK Yechiel Bar (Labor) said. "We want to express our support for the peace process."
MKs from the Right urged Bar and the lobby to cancel the meeting following the Psagot attack.