Palestinian policeman who strike IDF soldiers "should not remain alive," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio on Tuesday.
"I will not accept a situation in which an IDF soldier in Hebron gets punched by a Palestinian policeman and that policeman remains alive," Liberman said. "I don't accept that."
Liberman's comments came in response to a violent incident that took place in Hebron on Thursday when a Palestinian mob joined Palestinian police in attacking in attacking IDF soldiers on routine patrol in the area. Army sources said the fact that Palestinian police confronted an IDF patrol is a worrying development.
In another incident Friday, soldiers in Kfar Kaddum can be seen attempting to shield themselves from a large rock-throwing crowd before fleeing the scene.
Soldiers have complained that rules of engagement, which call for restraint but allow shots to be fired in case of an immediate threat to life, are too foggy to be applied clearly.
"It can't be that Israeli solders will be hit and punched, and [the Palestinians] will stay alive," Liberman repeated. "Whoever thinks that our actions are having a calming effect is wrong. In fact, it's the opposite. We're only motivating them to provoke us further."
Central Command officers have identified a sharp rise in the number of violent disturbances in the West Bank in recent weeks, resulting in a call to forces to increase awareness at all levels.
Liberman compares European position to Holocaust
Liberman raised more eyebrows in the interview when he compared European diplomacy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Holocaust, "I'm not pleased with Europe's position that again, again
in history, ignores calls to annihilate the nation of Israel."
he said, missed no opportunity to clearly state its objective of
annihilating the state of Israel, and Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas, he insisted, supported that position.
went through this Europe at the end of the 30s, in the 40s. They are
sacrificing all their values in favor of their interests. Even then, in
the 40s they knew what was going on with the concentration camps, to the
Jews, and they didn't exactly act," Liberman said.
The EU said on Monday that was “deeply dismayed by
and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank,
including in east Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area,” and said
all of its agreements with Israel only applied to the pre-1967 lines.
It also denounced as "unacceptable" recent inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders in Gaza "that deny Israel’s right to exist."
Yoel Hasson of Tzipi Livni's "Hatnua" party blasted the foreign minister, saying "Liberman's scandalous comparison of the Holocaust to Europe's diplomatic relationship with Israel today is a dangerous political step."
Liberman's words, he said, endangered one of Israel's best and most important relationships.
The Israeli public, he continued, should know that "Israel's friends in Europe have not lost faith in the state of Israel, but in the government of Israel."
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report