Right-wing Israeli politicians and settler leaders rejected the statement by the heads of the security forces on Saturday night which called Jewish extremist attacks against Palestinian villages in the West Bank over the last week's acts of “nationalist terror.”
They also took issue with any attempt to use similar legal tools to attack the phenomenon such as administrative detention.
“The attempt to create an equation between murderous Arab terrorism and actions against civilians however serious they may be is morally wrong and pragmatically dangerous,” said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the Religious Zionist Party.
“Administrative arrests against settlers are a draconian and undemocratic measure,” he said, adding that the use of this tool solely against residents of Judea and Samaria is an act of “severe discrimination."
Israeli lawmakers speak out against settler violence, 'taking the law into one's own hands'
Smotrich who earlier this year made headlines when he called to wipe out the West Bank Palestinian town of Huwara, did issue a statement against the settler attacks on Palestinian villages in the last week.
“Taking the law into one's own hands is bad, harmful, and may lead to a loss of control and dangerous anarchy and I call on everyone to refrain from actions that harm the settlements,” said Smotrich, who himself lives in the West Bank settlement of Kedumim.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who lives in the Kiryat Arba settlement, also called for an end to the attacks against Palestinians. “Even in these difficult hours, when the blood is boiling - you must not take the law into your hands.
“True, the response that the security system should provide to terrorism should be much stronger and more powerful than it is today… but the law must not be broken.”
Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli called on security forces to deal with domestic Jewish terrorism in the same manner that it cracks down on any terrorism.
“For years the whole country has been trying to deny its existence and it is erupting with all its might,” she said after a week in which Palestinian homes and vehicles were torched and one Palestinian man was killed due to the violence.
“Certainly not all settlers are violent, not all are terrorists,” said Michaeli. “But one cannot continue to deny the fact that among the settlers there are organized groups that carry out terrorism against innocent Palestinians.
“This terrorism must be dealt with a heavy hand, just like other kinds of terrorism,” Michaeli said.
“We must protect our country from this terrorism,” she added.
There were those on the Right, like Smotrich, however, who said that what has to happen now is for the security forces to invest more effort in combating Palestinian terror.
“The IDF and the security establishment must act with much greater determination against terrorism and disturbances on the part of Arabs.
“We can not accept a situation in which settlers feel like sitting ducks on the highways and around the settlements on a daily basis and count their dead,” he said.
He spoke just one week after a Palestinian gunman killed four Israelis in a terror attack at a gas station outside the Eli settlement.
Yesha Council head Shlomo Ne’eman also called on the security forces to ramp up their efforts to halt terror attacks stating that they must use “all of the tools at their disposal in order to strike at the terrorist infrastructure, including those who support, instigate, and finance terrorism, and defeat them.”
Like Smotrich, he too issued a statement against the settler attacks, exclaiming that, “We should not mimic our barbarous enemy, go wild, and do harm indiscriminately.”
He also said it was erroneous to draw an analogy between those attacks and acts of Palestinian terror.
“We have what the terrorists and their supporters do not have – a sense of humanity,” Ne’eman said.
He also rejected a call by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Ronen Bar, and Police Chief Kobi Shabtai for Israeli leaders including in the settlements to not just denounce Jewish terror but to combat it.
“The leaders of Judea and Samaria should not be the ones to deal with those who are on the wrong path,” Ne’eman stated.
“The residents of Judea and Samaria are not violent and don’t take the law into their own hands. And those who are criminals should be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”