Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas encourages terrorism, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday as Israeli leaders lined up to condemn the vehicular attack in Jerusalem.
“[Abbas] is the driver in the car of death in Jerusalem and the terrorists are his emissaries,” Bennett declared.
“The State of Israel must say clearly that the Fatah-Hamas government is a terrorist authority and we must treat it as such.”
The Bayit Yehudi leader pointed out that there is no Iron Dome defense system against drivers, adding that “Israeli citizens cannot live without deterrence and sovereignty in their capital. Our security is not a luxury.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also blamed Abbas saying, “The rhetoric of incitement from [Abbas], who spreads hatred and lies against the state of Israel on the one hand and celebrates and praises Palestinian terrorists who harm Jews on the other, is responsible for the spilling of blood in Jerusalem.”
Ya’alon said the PA President “has not and will not change. He will continue to tar the face of the state of Israel and incite against [us] before the Palestinian population and over the various stages around the world.
This is [Abbas], who is received in various places in the world as a moderate figure, but who does not promote a culture of peace and who is not really interested in living alongside a Jewish state. We will chop off Palestinian terrorism in Jerusalem and place our hands on those who carry out [attacks] and those who send them. This terrorism is aimed at harming our sovereignty in Jerusalem and undermine our right to it.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein wrote on Facebook: “It is no coincidence terrorists are focusing their murderous energies on Jerusalem.
This is the heart of our nation and, therefore, the heart of the conflict, and it is clear why they are tying it to the Temple Mount.”
Edelstein said Jerusalem will remain strong and under Israeli sovereignty, but that the world needs to understand that no other capital deals with constant terrorism sponsored by someone who demands concessions for peace. “No thank you,” he wrote Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, meanwhile, compared Abbas to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“In his messages to Israel and the world, he acts like a diplomat who wants peace and in his messages to the Palestinian schools and media he incites hatred and terrorism. The awful terrorist attack in Jerusalem is a result of his being two-faced.
We must react to the attacks like we did when Arafat was alive and show Abbas’s dark side to the whole world,” he said.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said “Arab terrorism in Jerusalem is growing. Whoever does not fight terrorism when it is small is inviting the next attack.”
Calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to change strategies and heavily punish all displays of violence, he said, “Only strong deterrence will prevent the next terrorist attack.”
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said the attack showed that Israel is losing sovereignty over Jerusalem.
“A government that gives up control over the Temple Mount is allowing terrorism to raise its head in Jerusalem. The fight for Jerusalem must go up a level. Jerusalem is under attack and trying to bring calm only shows weakness,” she stated.
Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman said the terrorist attacks “dealt a fatal blow to Israel’s sovereignty,” adding that “It cannot be that residents of Jerusalem cannot live safely. Public Security Minister [Yitzhak Aharonovitch] must act with determination to stop the Intifada that began in the capital.”
Shas leader Arye Deri, meanwhile, accused the government of burying its head in the sand like an ostrich while an Intifada rages in the capital.
“The prime minister must take responsibility and use every means necessary and all his force to get rid of the terror going wild under Abbas’s encouragement and sponsorship,” Deri said.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said the latest attack was encouraged by Abbas’s letter of condolence to the family of the terrorist who shot Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick last week, while MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beytenu) posited that incitement by Arab MKs like Haneen Zoabi (Balad) is to blame for the wave of vehicular terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.
“This is a direct result of the continuing incitement by the hater of Israel Haneen Zoabi, who preaches against the country from which she makes a living,” Miller said. “Just as security forces know how to take care of terrorists, we must take care of those who encourage terrorism in the sharpest, harshest way possible.”
According to Miller, “As long as Zoabi and her extremist friends are in the Knesset and take advantage of Israeli democracy, crazy incitement against our country will continue.”
Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said that, for external political reasons, decision-makers still are not allowing security forces to do what is necessary to protect Jerusalem.
“If we don’t give security forces the exclusive authority to take care of the phenomenon, we will continue living in a reality in which terrorist attacks are part of our routine,” he stated.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) praised police for shooting the terrorist and said it is clear that the security situation in Jerusalem requires an iron fist against terrorism.
Regev expressed confidence that an increased police presence in Jerusalem and the new punishments for rock-throwers will show Israel has rule of law and bring security and quiet back to the capital.
However, MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) pointed out that in Sunday’s Interior Committee meeting, Police Chief Yohanan Danino said anyone who doesn’t see that the violence in Jerusalem is decreasing is disconnected from reality.
“When hundreds of police guarded the terror-abettor Haneen Zoabi during her visit to the Temple Mount instead of being spread around Jerusalem to prevent another terrorist attack, the chief of police needs to examine his decisions,” she said.
MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) called for the government not to release the terrorist’s body until Hamas releases the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin who were killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said the Netanyahu government seeks to “manage the conflict” and treats the situation in Jerusalem like “shrapnel in the behind,” a reference to a metaphor Bennett once used for the conflict with the Palestinians.
“The ministers’ responses are somewhere between ignoring the situation and making provocations,” she stated. “I call on the prime minister to hold back his ministers who hurry to incite and call for cold-blooded murder.”
Gal-On also called for Netanyahu to stop construction and “attempts to take over neighborhoods” in east Jerusalem.
“The only long-term solution for Jerusalem is to end the conflict and turn it into the capital of two states, Israeli and Palestinian,” she said.
MK Issawi Frej (Meretz), meanwhile, accused Bennett of provoking continued violence in Jerusalem.
“Bennett’s attempt to accuse President Abbas of a terrorist attack is another cynical use of a tragedy by the Right to destroy what is left of our cooperation with the Palestinians,” he said.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.