The Israel Defense Forces is stepping up its operations in the West Bank and has been given free rein in the area to preempt terror attacks, a resolute Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, as he visited the site of a deadly terror attack at Etzion Junction the day before.
“On the offensive side,” Netanyahu said, “we’re going into every site. We’re entering [Palestinian] villages, we’re entering towns, we’re entering homes, and conducting widespread arrests. There are no restrictions on the activities of the IDF and the security forces. On the contrary – there’s full support, and this is vital.”
The prime minister was accompanied to the site, where Hadar Buchris, 21, was murdered on Sunday, by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, other senior security officials and the heads of local councils.
Netanyahu said that security forces are taking preventative action in the West Bank “day in and day out,” to put an end to the current situation in which “hundreds of Israelis are killed every year by suicide bombers and other attackers.”
Even so, Netanyahu said, Israel must “take additional action to counter the [threats] that already exist.”
The prime minister also announced tighter controls on Palestinian vehicles and an increase in the number of so-called “bypass roads” that create separate routes for Palestinians and Israelis.
He detailed the bolstered security measures drawn up specifically for the Etzion Junction, which has seen multiple lethal attacks in recent weeks, describing a “local bypass” of the junction as recommended by “defense officials.”
Regarding punitive action against those who carry out attacks, Netanyahu said that even extended families of attackers will now be denied permission to work in Israel.
“Such a family is aware of the fact that one of its members is a radical, and anyone who is about to [carry out an] attack – such a family has no right to work in Israel. We revoke [that permit], and that’s important,” he said.
Netanyahu reiterated his oft-repeated criticism of what calls online incitement, and announced that Israel was “also preparing to take care of the social networks using various means.”
“But,” he continued, “I think that the most important means at our disposal are perseverance, bravery and a resolve to fight this terrorism as we have fought its various manifestations over the past century. Those we have in abundance, and with them we will win this time as well.”
Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to the family of 21-year-old student Buchris, stabbed to death by a Palestinian on Sunday evening at the Etzion Junction. She was laid to rest Monday in Jerusalem.
The terror attacks against Israelis continued Monday. An Israeli was killed and two others were wounded Monday afternoon in a stabbing attack on Route 443 in the West Bank. Hours earlier, two Palestinian girls wielding scissors stabbed and wounded a 70-year-old Palestinian man in central Jerusalem. Police identified the two attackers as girls aged 14 and 16, from northern Jerusalem.
Elie Leshem contributed to this report.