Netanyahu: Palestinian Temple Mount incitement responsible for terror attack that killed Israeli couple

“It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening,” says Netanyahu.

October 2, 2015 09:29
4 minute read.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Asse

PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, October 1, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian incitement over the issue of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is responsible for the terror attack that killed an Israeli couple as they drove home in Judea and Samaria with their four children on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“The killers knew that they were murdering a mother and father, the children were there [in the car]. It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening,” said Netanyahu.

“We’ve witnessed how they have spoken of our ‘cruel acts’ on the Temple Mount, a charge that is baseless. Unfortunately, these kinds of words have consequences,” Netanyahu said. He added that he was disappointed that the Palestinian Authority had not immediately condemned the shooting death of Eitam and Naama Henkin, in the same way that Israel did.

Israel immediately condemned the July attack by Jewish extremists who torched a home in the Palestinian village of Duma, killing Saad and Reham Dewabsha and their toddler, Ali, Netanyahu said.

He explained how he went to the hospital to visit the Dewabsha’s other son, Ahmed, who is recovering from his injuries in the fire.

“Compare this to the silence of the Palestinian leadership now, I have not heard their condemnation,” Netanyahu said.

The Palestinian killing of Eitam and Naama Henkin in the Binyamin Region of the West Bank came on the heels of a stoning attack against an Israeli vehicle earlier in the day in the Gush Etzion Region, in which the couple with their three children escaped serious harm.

It occurred just after Netanyahu spoke against Palestinian incitement at the UN General Assembly in New York and before he met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, where among other things they discussed the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In the months leading up to the General Assembly, the Quartet, composed of the UN, the US, the EU and Russia, have spoken of a renewed push to resume peace process which has been frozen since April 2014.

But although the Quartet met in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly, it did not announce a new initiative. Even before he left for New York, Netanyahu on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to hold direct talks without preconditions. In an opinion piece in the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Abbas refused the call and said he could not talk with Israel as long as it was an occupying power. On Wednesday Abbas told the UN General Assembly that he would annul the Oslo Accords that had governed Israel’s relations with the PA for over two decades, unless Israel halted its violations against his people, stopped all settlement activities and released Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

On Thursday, just before the terror attack, Netanyahu once again called on Abbas from the General Assembly podium to hold direct talks for a two-state solution.

“I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever,” Netanyahu said.

“Unfortunately, President Abbas said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this. Well, I hope he changes his mind,” Netanyahu said.

“Because I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state,” he said.

During that General Assembly speech he also called on Abbas to stop “spreading lies about Israel’s alleged intentions on the Temple Mount.”

During Netanyahu’s meeting with Ban after the speech, the UN Secretary-General condemned Thursday’s terror attack but asked the prime minister to make “significant policy changes that will have a concrete impact on the lives of Palestinians.”

Ban also asked Netanyahu to “cease all settlement activity and demolitions while enabling access for Palestinians to a fair planning system.”

Netanyahu told Ban that Abbas was “running away” from negotiations to avoid making the necessary concessions such as recognizing that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people and that the Palestinians will not have the right of return to Israel.

“He is not ready to do so, so he finds excuses,” Netanyahu said.

He later told reporters, “If Abbas continues to incite and refuse to negotiate course, he pulls himself out of the peace process.”

On Thursday night the US condemned the terror attack, extended its condolences to the family and urged “all sides to maintain calm, avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragedy, and work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said, “This tragic incident, once again, highlights the need for significant steps that help stabilize the situation, reverse the current negative trends and restore hope that a just and lasting negotiated two-state solution is possible.”

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