Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the IDF’s Central Command on Sunday
along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak for a briefing on the situation in the
West Bank from Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, OC Central Command Maj.-
Gen. Nitzan Alon and senior IDF officers.
The visit stems from an
escalation of Palestinian violence in east Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent
On Sunday, an Arab taxi driver rammed his car into a vehicle
exiting a police station in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber, injuring
a Border Police officer and an east Jerusalem resident in what police said
looked like a nationalistically motivated incident.
The suspect, who
lives in Jebl Mukaber and has a police record for “minor security offences,”
allegedly tried to drive into the Oz police station.
After he was denied
entry, the driver allegedly rammed his car into a vehicle that was just exiting
A Border Police officer approached the taxi and asked to
speak with the driver, at which point the driver allegedly ran his car into the
officer, lightly injuring him in the leg.
Three police officers who
witnessed the incident fired at the taxi, lightly injuring the
MDA paramedics treated both men on the scene before evacuating
them to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said that the
suspect was not a member of an armed organization. Police said that an initial
investigation suggested that the incident was nationalistically
“I went crazy; I wanted to go into the police station,” the
suspect told police. He also reportedly said that he wanted to die, according to
According to a report in London’s Sunday Times, Netanyahu
recently received a warning from Military Intelligence, supported by the Shin
Bet (Israel Security Agency), that Hamas head Khaled Mashaal had instructed his
terrorist group’s sleeper cells in the West Bank to prepare to take over the
area, just as they took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The newspaper cited
the Military Intelligence as saying that Iran was behind the move in an effort
to create a third source of pressure — in addition to Hezbollah in Lebanon and
Hamas in Gaza — in case of an Israel attack on Iran.
The Prime Minister’s
Office did not comment on the report.
During his visit to the IDF Central
Command, Netanyahu said that he went there to get a briefing on the developments
in the area.
“Our goal is to maintain the security of Israeli citizens in
the settlements, and – of course – in the entire country. We are aware of an
increase in activity, and I want to get an exact briefing. We must act
here, as on other fronts, to ensure the country’s security, and that is what we
are doing,” he said.
Earlier, Netanyahu held a special discussion on the
lessons of Operation Pillar of Defense together with the main agencies dealing
with the home front.
Among the issues discussed were improving bomb
shelters, integrating warning systems, reinforcing essential facilities and
upgrading command and control systems.
The home front agencies “performed
very successfully during the operation,” Netanyahu said, adding that it “saved
the lives of many citizens, and allowed daily life and vital services to be
maintained in a situation of prolonged missile fire.”
Netanyahu said that
since the home front is “one of the main fronts in any security scenario,” the
government will “continue to invest in it.”
During Sunday’s cabinet
meeting, the government unanimously approved a supplemental allocation of NIS
9.5 million to assist those in the South – particularly immigrants and the
elderly – impacted by last month’s Gaza operation.