Gantz: Rock throwers are terrorists, whoever they are

Gantz spoke out in the aftermath of a number of highly publicized incidents of violence against Palestinians attributed to settlers and or Jewish extremists.

 A man is seen wounded after being attacked by Jewish extremist settlers in the West Bank. (photo credit: YESH DIN)
A man is seen wounded after being attacked by Jewish extremist settlers in the West Bank.
(photo credit: YESH DIN)

Those who throw rocks are terrorists, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday night as he condemned nationalistic violence, pledging firm action against the perpetrators.

“The recent incidents involving nationalistically-motivated violence in Judea and Samaria are grave and I intend to act firmly against them. 

"Whoever hurls rocks, ignites vehicles and uses weapons [for the purpose of violence] is a terrorist and will be treated as such," Gantz said.

He spoke out in the aftermath of a number of highly publicized incidents of violence against Palestinians attributed to settlers and or Jewish extremists.

On Friday settlers attacked left-wing activists and Palestinian farmers outside Burin, beating them with clubs and igniting one of their vehicles.

Scenes from the vandalism caused by Israeli settlers on Palestinians cars and shops in the town of Huwara near Nablus, January 24, 2021.  (credit: HUWARA REGIONAL COUNCIL)Scenes from the vandalism caused by Israeli settlers on Palestinians cars and shops in the town of Huwara near Nablus, January 24, 2021. (credit: HUWARA REGIONAL COUNCIL)

On Monday a convoy of settlers stopped in the Palestinian town of Huwara, and threw stones at businesses and cars, breaking windows and injuring three Palestinians, according to a report from the left-wing group Yesh Din.

On Sunday Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev called Friday's attack the work of an "organizing terror group."

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Friday tweeted that “This shocking violence by a group of lawbreakers in Samaria should be a warning light to all of us.” 

Such incidents “will bring us to an abyss that cannot be bridged,” he wrote. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is the only high-level politician not to speak out about the violence.

Gantz said he was working to strengthen the security presence in the West Bank.

"I have recently initiated several meetings to discuss this issue, and we currently find ourselves at the height of the process to strengthen our troops on the ground, to build forces with the Police and ISA, and to determine operational and legal proceedings vis-a-vis such incidents.”

The left-wing NGO Peace Now said it was not impressed by Gantz's words.

It is time for Gantz "to move from words to deeds. Instead of convening discussions, tomorrow morning he should order the dismantling of the illegal outposts from which most settler violence incidents emerge."