Israelis and Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site.
(photo credit: screenshot)
A new Operation Defensive Shield is necessary to stem the violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday.
“A government that hides behind concrete blocks and does not defend its citizens and provides deterrence has no right to exist,” he said in a speech at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, referring to the blocks placed at Jerusalem Light Rail stations Wednesday night.
The strategy of relying on defensive measures fell apart and another Operation Defensive Shield is required to protect Jerusalem, he said.
Operation Defensive Shield was a large military operation in Judea and Samaria 2002, in response to the suicide attacks of the second intifada, with incursions into Ramallah, Tulkarm, Kalkilya, Bethlehem, Jenin and Nablus. The IDF put then-PLO chairman Yasser Arafat’s presidential compound in Ramallah, the Mukata, under siege and enforced strict curfews for Palestinians.
“In Defensive Shield we entered the centers of [Palestinian] towns and the terrorism stopped. We didn’t hide; we attacked. We didn’t run away; we won,” Bennett declared.
“Defensive Shield is to catch terrorists in their beds at 3 a.m., to reach those who incite to violence on the Internet, to find the firecracker storehouses, to reach their commanders.”
Bennett’s comments came after months of rioting in Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, including throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, an assassination attempt on Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick, and two vehicular terrorist attacks in the past month.
“Without sovereignty, there is terrorism.
Without deterrence, there is terrorism. When our enemies have hope that they will expel us from our capital, there is terrorism. When the victim is blamed – A Jew who wants to pray, a Jew who wants to hitchhike, a Jew who wants to ride a train – then there is more and more terrorism,” he said.
The Bayit Yehudi leader said that Israelis must stop blaming themselves.
“We will not be silent, because terrorism is rampant. We will not be silent, because citizens are afraid to go to the Western Wall. We will not be silent, because people are canceling trips to our capital.... We will come to our senses and we will win,” he declared.
Bennett placed the blame for the violence squarely on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s shoulders.
“The hand on the steering wheel is Abbas’s. He is the driver, the navigator, the sponsor of the terrorism,” he said.
According to Bennett, “Abbas, who says Jews are desecrating the Temple Mount by their mere entry and [who] calls to stop us in any way, is not a partner – he is a terrorist.
“Abbas, who sends a condolence letter to the family of Yehudah Glick’s assassin and whose party called the murderer of a three-month-old baby [in a vehicular terrorist attack] a martyr, is not a partner – he is a terrorist.
Abbas, who united with Hamas, with the rocket-launchers and tunnel-diggers, working with them and encouraging them to harm as many Jews as possible, is not a partner – he is a terrorist,” he said.
Bennett added that Abbas is “addicted to terrorism” and is no different from Arafat, except that he wears a suit and tie.
A source close to Bennett said the minister has been calling in the cabinet and sending letters to the relevant ministers to curb the increasing violence for nearly a year and that he is sick of being ignored.
Security officials “talked about containment, but it’s not helping; people are being killed in the streets,” the source said. “We need to not be defensive, we need to attack.”
“We cannot defend ourselves to death,” the source said. “We need a total revolution in strategy.”