Israel’s Netanyahu pledges response to Palestinian terrorists after two young Israeli boys killed

by mcardinal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday promised a stronger Israeli response in dealing with a spate of Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, as pressure swelled within his right-wing government to employ more severe tactics.

His remarks came two days after a car-ramming attack in the Jerusalem outskirts killed three Israelis, including two young boys, and two weeks after a lone Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue, adding to rising anxiety in Israel over security.

The most recent attack came when a 31-year-old terrorist from East Jerusalem drove his car into a group of people at a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli police said.

A volunteer medic with United Hatzalah ambulance service, Ariel Ben-David, told Army Radio: “Everyone was lying out, thrown about, in very bad condition.”

Two of the three of the victims who died in the attack were brothers, sparking outrage from Israeli government officials and citizens.

The attacker was shot dead at the scene by officers, police said. Ten members of the assailant’s family were arrested following the attack. Footage showed officers in riot gear leading several handcuffed people from a house.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin condemned the Palestinian Authority who he said was behind the attack and “celebrated this horrific act of violence and declared the terrorist a ‘martyr’ and ‘hero,'” adding “Such hateful ideologies have no place in our world.”

Tensions are brewing in the West Bank, where Israeli forces have carried out hundreds of arrests in recent months during near-daily raids that have seen bloody gunbattles with Palestinian terrorists. At least 42 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed this year.

“The cabinet is meeting today to prepare for an even broader action against those carrying out terrorism and their supporters in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, while preventing as much as possible harming those uninvolved,” Netanyahu said, using a term common in Israel for the West Bank.

He did not offer specifics in his comments at the start of the cabinet meeting.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu’s national security minister, said however that police had already begun a major enforcement campaign in East Jerusalem that would include measures from handing out traffic tickets to demolishing houses of Palestinian attackers.

Ben-Gvir, who takes a hard line against Palestinians, was met at the scene of Friday’s ramming attack by an angry crowd who demanded action. Videos from the scene show onlookers shouting “death to terrorists” once Ben-Gvir arrived.

Speaking in Cairo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians were facing a “lethal assault,” and repeated a pledge to pursue action against Israel before the United Nations and International Criminal Court.

Ben-Gvir told reporters ahead of the cabinet meeting that he was determined to carry out an operation in East Jerusalem similar to a large-scale military campaign Israel launched in the West Bank during a Palestinian uprising 20 years ago.

His reference to the 20-year-old operation known as “Defensive Shield” that saw major combat in West Bank streets was characterized as misguided by a number of former security officials in media interviews.

“It seems to be a remark that is not backed up by a deep understanding of what needs to be done,” ex-National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror told Israel Radio.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal.