(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight and defeat terrorism and incitement by the Palestinian Authority, radical Islam and all those who have called to destroy Israel, including Arab citizens of the country.
“Those who protest against the State of Israel and in favor of the Palestinian state, I say to them, simply go there, to the Palestinian Authority or Gaza,” Netanyahu said as he spoke to his Likud faction in the Knesset on Monday.
“I promise you that the State of Israel will not make it difficult for you, but for those who stay here, we will make it difficult if you are a rioter or a terrorist.”
Netanyahu described efforts to fight terrorism, including passing laws and destroying terrorists’ homes, and declared he would not tolerate rioting.
He called for all of Israel to be united in facing its current challenges.
“When we are united, we are stronger, and that is what we need today,” he concluded.
He spoke just after the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv but before the one in Gush Etzion.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid expressed support for the security forces’ fight against terrorism and warned against calls for revenge and “death to Arabs” at a Yesh Atid faction meeting.
“Instead of strengthening us at a difficult time, such behavior weakens us,” Lapid said.
“I spoke to leaders of the Arab population on the need to bring quiet back to the streets of Israel, and I say the same to some politicians, ministers and MKs, to stop their irresponsible populism, their provocative declarations, and help the police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) lower the flames,” he said.
Similarly, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) called to maintain calm and said she would continue to do so even if it made her unpopular.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said the continued terrorism proved that “we have to make sure the inciters, the firecracker-throwers and the rioters sit in jail. That is the correct security policy.”
The Bayit Yehudi chairman said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was the same as Yasser Arafat – he just dresses differently.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said that whoever doesn’t want to “provoke and create friction... must understand we must act determinedly against inciters.”
Liberman said Abbas encouraged terrorists by calling the man who attacked Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick a hero. He said the fact that MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) was not in prison also encouraged terrorists.
“When we call for order and calm, we must also call for Arab leaders not to incite,” he said. “There is wild incitement on their side....This must stop.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) expressed concern that the violence was out of control.
“The time has come to bring calm. We can’t continue in this situation. This government and prime minister cannot continue their inaction. They are deteriorating our society and our security,” Herzog stated.
The opposition leader also accused Netanyahu of “giving populist speeches, but not having any answers.”
Shas leader MK Arye Deri blamed Abbas for “lighting this bonfire,” saying that “unfortunately, he is not a partner for peace; he is one of the great inciters.”
President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement in which he called on all public figures from across the political spectrum to join forces against the challenges now confronting Israel.
Rivlin said he placed his trust in the security establishment, which would not rest until the return to normal life.Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.