Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters cabinet meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday night against people taking the law into their own hands to avenge Tuesday’s murderous attack in Har Nof, and also called for national unity at a time of enormous challenges facing the country.
With the revenge killing of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir just hours after the bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah were discovered this summer clearly in his mind, Netanyahu called during a special televised statement to the nation for everyone to “obey the law.”
“As a state we will settle accounts with all the terrorists and those who dispatch them, and we have already proven our ability to do this,” Netanyahu said. “It is forbidden for anyone to take the law into their own hands, even if the blood is boiling.”
Netanyahu said that Israel has faced horrible terrorism since the beginning of the Zionist enterprise. “We have always defeated it, and will do so today as well.”
Defeating the current wave of terrorism, he said, “will not happen overnight” and will require patience and a “will of steel, because our enemies are testing our resilience.”
He said that the country needs to unite “around the things that we will have to do” to bring the wave of terrorism to heel, saying that “some of the things we will do will be hard.”
Among the steps that Netanyahu approved in high-level security consultations just prior to his remarks was the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who carried out Tuesday’s attacks.
In addition, Netanyahu ordered moving forward as quickly as possible – within the limits of the law – with the demolition of the homes of terrorists who carried out previous attacks in Jerusalem, as well as more stringently enforcing the law against incitement and outlawing organizations engaged in inciting against Israel.
“It is possible that we will have to use other means,” he said. “I expect full backing in this struggle, which is right and just for the security of Israel.”
The recent terrorist incidents are part of a campaign that “is more serious than many think,” Netanyahu said.
“First of all, there are waves of terrorism, pushed forward by waves of incitement, which are meant to uproot us from Jerusalem,” he said. “Secondly, there is a diplomatic campaign that denies our rights in Jerusalem, which is also heating up.” For that reason, he said, he is calling on all the Zionist parties to join the government.
“We are in a big struggle today, and what is needed is national unity.”
Netanyahu’s call for national unity comes just a day after the media were full of stories of a coalition crisis and the likelihood of elections.
Netanyahu called on the world to condemn the murder of Jews and Israelis with the same vigor with which it condemns other acts of violence, and not to distinguish “between blood and blood.”
While acknowledging that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday’s attack, he said Abbas watered down his condemnation by linking it to false accusations regarding Israel’s intentions on the Temple Mount.
“There is daily, even hourly incitement throughout the Palestinian Authority, where they are not only turning the worst murderers into cultural heroes, but there is also unending incitement against the very existence of Israel,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman charged Tuesday that Abbas is intentionally turning the Arab-Israeli conflict into a religious one between Muslims and Jews.
The foreign minister said Abbas is doing this through wild incitement, saying the Jews are desecrating the Temple Mount, thereby laying the ground for these types of attacks.
“The international community must denounce the anti-Semitic words of Abu Mazen [Abbas] that lead to horrible acts of slaughter like that carried out this morning in a synagogue, and make it clear to him that whoever acts in this way cannot be a legitimate statesman,” he said.
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