Within hours of the police announcement that Jews were arrested for the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unequivocally condemned them Sunday evening and said there was no place “for those kind of murderers in Israeli society.”
Speaking after a condolence call in Nof Ayalon to the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the teens kidnapped and murdered last week, Netanyahu said Israel will punish the murderers.
“That is how we are different from our neighbors,” he said.
“Their murderers are hailed as heroes and public squares are named in their honor.”
Netanyahu called on all sides to “show responsibility” and not inflame the situation.
Referring to Jewish hate crimes against Arabs, Netanyahu said “we are opposed to ‘price-tag attacks.’” In the same way, he said, in a reference to the recent Israeli-Arab rioting, that “we are opposed to fire bombs, rock-throwing and blocking of roads.”
Just as he condemns calls of “Death to Arabs,” the prime minister said, he also condemns calls of “Death to Jews.”
Netanyahu said Israel’s strength rested in the fact that it is a nation based on law.
“Murder is murder, and incitement is incitement – and we will treat both with severity. I do not distinguish between terrorism and terrorism, nor between incitement and incitement.”
Netanyahu said the entire country is aware the events of the last few days have made the country’s already complicated reality even more complex.
“It is important at this time to unite, to act according to Jewish, democratic values, and together to deflect all efforts to shake the stability and quiet of the country’s citizens,” he said.
The prime minister praised the police for rapidly solving the murder, and pointed out that he directed them to give preference to finding the killers.
In parallel, he said, the police also solved the murder of Shelly Dadon in Migdal Ha’emek, and “the suspect in that murder will also be brought to justice.”
Netanyahu, referring to the murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil- Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, said Israel knows exactly the identity of the murderers. He and his wife, Sara, visited each of the families on Sunday.
“The murderers came from the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority; they returned to territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “Therefore, the Palestinian Authority is obliged to do everything in its power to find them, just as our security forces located the suspects in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir within a matter of days.”
Netanyahu said that while Israel will put the killers of Abu Khdeir on trial, there is continuous incitement inside the PA for Israel’s destruction.
“This is an asymmetrical conflict.
We do not seek their destruction. They teach a very broad segment of their society to seek our destruction,” he said. “And that must end. There is too much suffering. There is too much pain.”