Israel needs to strike the right balance in confronting West Bank terror, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein said at a classified committee hearing on Wednesday.
“We must continue to find the right and subtle balance between preserving quiet and routine day-to-day life alongside freedom of operational action, maintaining deterrence and preventing the buildup of [terror] forces among our enemies,” said Edelstein in one of the few public statements released from the meeting.
“We must continue to find the right and subtle balance between preserving quiet and routine day-to-day life alongside freedom of operational action, maintaining deterrence and preventing the buildup of [terror] forces among our enemies.”Yuli Edelstein
His statement contrasted starkly with the many provocative statements made by his coalition partners, like Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Standing in contrast with Smotrich and Ben-Gvir
Smotrich has generated waves of condemnations from the Palestinians, the US, the EU and Israel’s Sunni Arab allies with statements calling to “wipe out” the Palestinian village of Huwara or arguing that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people.
Ben-Gvir has made similar statements and favors empowering Israeli security forces with the right to shoot to kill Palestinians, as opposed to arresting or shooting to wound, in operational situations where the IDF – and other Western armies – would currently view shooting to kill as a violation of the laws of war.
The national security minister also started his term with a visit to the Temple Mount, which was roundly condemned by virtually all of Israel’s allies.
Top security officials have expressed concern that provocative statements by government ministers could lead to an escalation of destabilizing violence with the start of Ramadan.
Edelstein’s statement might be seen as support for top security officials who have stressed moderation despite public statements by officials like Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.
During the closed portion of the oversight hearing regarding the country’s intelligence and operational apparatuses, committee members received updated statistics on the ongoing West Bank terror wave and other threats, and the current intelligence forecast compared to the forecast at the start of 2023.
Intelligence officials gave possible explanations for evolving threats and informed the committee of recent directives the security cabinet has issued to the defense establishment.