An old Palestinian man prevents Border Policemen from shooting at protesters during clashes in Hebron.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Meretz called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign Saturday night, holding a protest in front of his official residence in Jerusalem.
“Whoever doesn’t recognize this threat and continues to play the victim, finding excuses for refusing [to negotiate] and blabbering about Iran, and bribing his friends with natural gas or a casino in Eilat, is a failed prime minister who is not worthy of being prime minister and has to go home,” party chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said at the demonstration.
“The whole country is on fire, and instead of voicing hope and calm, what we hear are messages of hatred, incitement and racism from rabbis, from organizations that already committed hate crimes in the past and from right-wing politicians,” she added, saying Netanyahu should negotiate with the Palestinians instead of “managing the conflict.”
MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union), a former Likud activist and aide to Likud MKs, said many leaders who sat in the building outside which they were demonstrating knew how to fight terrorism, but not Netanyahu.
“For six years, Netanyahu has been prime minister and hasn’t done anything to create a diplomatic horizon. For six years he abandoned the Palestinian arena and the result is dozens of terrorist attacks in recent days. Netanyahu is not using a strong enough hand against terrorism and isn’t presenting a diplomatic horizon. Today, the nation knows Netanyahu is not a leader,” Hasson stated.
In Tel Aviv, Labor’s Youth Guard held a protest in front of Likud headquarters.
“For six years, we have had no leadership and no prime minister… Not even his own government trusts him,” said MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union).
A former aide to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Nahmias- Verbin noted that the 20th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination is coming up, and said Labor youth are proof that it is possible to oppose a prime minister without incitement or violence.
“The burden of proof is on us, to prove that this is not only the Promised Land, but a promising land. We have to go back to the negotiating table and outline our future,” she stated.
MK Eitan Broshi (Zionist Union), however, said he supports the prime minister, defense minister and public security minister in their fight against terrorism.
“These are trying times for the Israeli public, and we must unite and focus our joint efforts to bring calm,” he said, separately from the protest in Tel Aviv.
At the same time, Broshi called elements on the Right “belligerent,” and spoke out against “demonstrations and irresponsible actions.”
“We must behave sensibly and let the IDF and police and security forces do their job. During this sensitive time, we must avoid all ‘Price Tag’ activities, which will deteriorate the sensitive situation. MKs and mayors must work to bring back quiet and calm. I expect that these efforts will bring calm within days,” he stated.
Also Saturday, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is acting like a gang leader.
“The recent outbreak of events is a direct result of many months in which [Abbas] incited against Israel and perpetuated lies, especially about the Temple Mount. His speech to the UN burst the dams,” Akunis said at an event in Ness Ziona.
Akunis also said a two-state solution is “irrelevant.”
“What is the point of establishing another terrorist state in the Middle East in addition to those that already exist?” he asked.
MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) also blamed the outbreak of violence on incitement by Abbas and Islamic Movement Northern Branch leader Raed Salah, but said the fact that the culprits who firebombed a Palestinian family’s home in Duma over the summer have not been captured and that there are no negotiations happening has left Palestinians frustrated and desperate.
“Our problem is that on both sides there are cowardly leaders who prefer to maintain the status quo and not make courageous decisions that involve concessions,” she said.
In response to a question as to what MK Yair Lapid, the leader of her party, would do differently, German said he would hold a regional conference with moderate leaders of Arab countries and the PA to try to reach a diplomatic agreement.