Netanyahu vows to restore quiet as violence rages in Jerusalem

PM says Israel is planning to mobilize more Border Police, step up intelligence and law enforcement efforts in capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a consultation with police in Jerusalem, October 23, 2014. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a consultation with police in Jerusalem, October 23, 2014.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered police reinforcements to buttress security in the capital amid ongoing Arab rioting in Jerusalem Thursday after an infant girl was killed and eight others wounded by a convicted Hamas terrorist at the Ammunition Hill light-rail stop the previous day.
Netanyahu’s announcement came hours after three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun was buried following a Wednesday night rampage by Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi, 21, of east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, who rammed his car into the little girl’s stroller and a crowd of pedestrians.
At least two people sustained serious wounds during Wednesday night’s terrorist attack. Shalodi died at an area hospital of a gunshot wound fired by an officer after attempting to flee the scene by foot.
Mass rioting ensued hours later in Isawiya and Silwan, as well on Thursday morning, when masked Arab assailants hurled rocks at a kindergarten in the city’s Ma’aleh Zeitim neighborhood and a Shuafat light-rail stop.
According to police, none of the children were wounded during the assault, which Border Police quickly contained.
Following a detailed briefing of the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem at a meeting attended by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israel Police Insp.–Gen.
Yohanan Danino, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen, Jerusalem District Police head Asst.-Ch. Moshe Edri and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Netanyahu ordered an additional Border Police company to the capital.
The directive is part of part of a number of new measures designed to bolster security in the city, the prime minister said.
“United Jerusalem was, and will always remain, the capital of Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said at the security consultation he held in his office. “Every attempt to harm its people will be met with a stronger response. We will return peace and security to Jerusalem.”
In addition to bringing in more Border Police, Netanyahu said that Israel will step up its intelligence and law enforcement efforts throughout the city.
“This, and additional measures,” which he said he did not want to elaborate on, will restore quiet to the capital.
According to a statement put out by Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister gave instructions to “exercise Israeli sovereignty” in all parts of the city through the introduction of additional forces.
“We support the Israeli police, and will give it all the reinforcements necessary,” he said.
Netanyahu, in an apparent reference to Wednesday’s attack in Ottawa, said that Jerusalem is not the only city and capital in the world under attack.
“But the attack in Jerusalem is supported by Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], who glorifies the murderers and embraces the organization to which the terrorists belong: Hamas.”
Despite Abbas’s glorification of terrorists and embrace of Hamas, the international community, Netanyahu said, is unwilling to utter a word of criticism against him.
Israel, he said, will not show such “feebleness,” and will strongly stand by its “right and obligation to defend our capital. We will do this with strength, and we will win.”
Speaking soon after Thursday’s meeting at a memorial ceremony for tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, assassinated 13 years ago at the old Hyatt Hotel on Mount Scopus, nearby Wednesday’s attack, Netanyahu said the world is learning about terrorism, since many of the techniques used by terrorists for years against Israel are being used today by Islamic terrorists around the globe.
“The difference is that we don’t bow our head in the face of terror, but fight it again and again,” he said. “We don’t try to justify the motivations of these abominable actions. Some actions are unjustifiable – the killing of an Israeli minister, a baby.”
Netanyahu said that not only does the goal not justify the means, but that the means themselves say something about the true goal.
“If these murderers were able, they would kill, they would destroy all of us, and not only us,” he said. “This simple truth must today guide the entire international community, and if the countries of the world do not wake up now and hit terrorism hard, they will find it deep within their own homes, and faster than they think.”
Meanwhile, Danino said he had ordered his top commanders to enter into dialogue with the leadership of all sectors of Israeli society to prevent incitement and to stop extremists who could inflame tensions in the city.
He said that he had ordered an increase in officers in the Jerusalem District “in order to improve the sense of security for all residents of Jerusalem.”
“This is a national mission and the Israel Police will work with all security agencies in order to deal with, and provide an operational solution to, those disturbing the peace,” Danino said.
In addition, he said that he instructed the Jerusalem District commanders to work with prosecutors to increase the severity of punishment – particularly in the form of fines – against rock-throwers and their families.
During a tour Thursday with riot police in flashpoint neighborhoods Isawiya and French Hill, Barkat, who has for weeks been imploring the government and the police to devote more resources to tamping down the rising violence in the capital, said he will soon launch observational balloons to assist police in detecting violence in Arab neighborhoods.
“As I have said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must act unequivocally against all violence taking place in the city,” the mayor said in a statement. “Today, more than ever, it is clear that we must send police forces into neighborhoods where there are disturbances, placing them strategically and widely in significant numbers.”
Meanwhile, Shalodi’s mother was quoted by Silwan’s Wadi Hilweh Information Center on Thursday as stating that her son suffered from mental illness after allegedly being tortured in an Israeli prison prior to his March release.
The mother added that Shalodi met with a doctor on the day of the attack, who referred him to a psychiatrist he was scheduled to meet with early next month.
He was killed “in cold blood,” she said.
Another family member told Channel 2 News that the incident was an accident, and “people heard him yell out that he lost control of the car.”
The police killed him, he alleged.