Iran is funding the recent wave of terrorism in the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he made an unusual visit to the site of Monday’s deadly terrorist attack in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills.
“We are in the middle of a terrorist onslaught that is encouraged, guided and funded by Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu said.
“A significant portion of this wave of terrorism came from external guidance,” he added.
Netanyahu: Iran funding terror wave in Israel | https://t.co/e5o4domdysVideo in Hebrew. Full article linked above. #terror #shooting #Hebron #WestBank pic.twitter.com/UD1ZZTPAg3— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) August 21, 2023
Impact of Iranian funding
Netanyahu rarely visits Judea and Samaria, let alone heads to the actual site of a terror attack. He arrived with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant amid criticism that his government has not taken a strong enough stance against terror.
Gallant pointed a finger at Tehran, stating that Iranian funding marks a “significant change,” leading to more weapons reaching Palestinians in the West Bank.
The terrorism is “all guided by Iran, which is looking for any way to harm Israeli citizens,” Gallant said. “We will reach the terrorists and will take additional actions that will ensure the security of the citizens of Israel and make those responsible pay a price.”
Netanyahu emphasized that Israel is “acting around the clock…to find the murderers and those who want to murder the citizens of Israel…We will use additional means of attack and defense to make the terrorists pay, along with those who send them, near or far.”
The prime minister also emphasized that he gives his “support to all the commanders and all the soldiers who work day and night…to defend us all and we all must back them.”
Members of his Likud party and governing coalition, as well as his son Yair Netanyahu, have denigrated some of the IDF's top commanders, including Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Herzy Halevi in the past weeks.
To craft a response to Monday’s attack, which followed the fatal terror shooting on Saturday that claimed two victims, Netanyahu plans to convene the Security Cabinet either later this week, or at the very latest by Sunday.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) had pushed Netanyahu to convene the security cabinet earlier than its scheduled date of September 10.
Ben-Gvir is expected to demand new measures aimed at halting the violence such as road closures, denial of work permits for Palestinians, targeted countermeasures, and more.
MK Dan Illuoz (Likud) tweeted, "An attack follows an attack … We must restore deterrence and not wait one more moment. We must not let terrorism rise. We will pursue our enemies and overtake them, and we will not return until they are gone.”
National Missions Minister Orit Struck (RZP) tweeted that “Judea and Samaria roads will no longer be a green route for terrorism! Defense Minister [Gallant], the decision is in your hands, accept it before the next attack.”
Otzma Yehudit MK Yitzhak Kreuzer tweeted, “we demand revenge."
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich visited the South Hebron Hills earlier in the day and met with its Regional Council head Yochai Damri.
After the meeting, he pledged to bring a decision to the government on Sunday to expand West Bank settlement activity, particularly in the South Hebron Hills.
It would include expanding the settlements of Beit Hagai and Otniel, as well as steps to improve security on the road on which the terror attack occurred.
“This is what will show our enemies that terror does not pay,” he said.
Settlers leaders plan to protest outside the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday to demand a military response to the terror attacks.
Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Gantz said, "This cannot continue. Jewish blood has been spilled and murderous terrorism exacts a terrible and terrible price from us. We warned and warned that the current security concept does not stop terror attacks.
“We demand security. We demand that our residents will be able to live here in peace. This is a minimum that the IDF and the government must provide to the citizens."
Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan said, “We cannot accept this situation.. we have not been silent on this matter with past governments and we will not be silent to this government.
“The government must change tracks, break out of the deadlock, and launch a broad, prolonged and thorough military operation and eradicate terrorism.
“What didn't work until today won't work tomorrow, and what worked in the past will work today as well - we won't be silent about it, and we will fight to prevent the next murder,” he said.