Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said attempts to explain Palestinian terrorism as motivated by despair were “incorrect.” Terror attacks, he said, “don’t come because of their despair and the frustration over the inability to build. They come because of their despair and the frustration over inability to destroy.”

He took issue with the desperation claim, saying it “exonerates the Palestinians from being responsible for their actions.” He noted that Arabs had attacked Jews in Israel “before the state was founded and afterwards, before there were territories and settlements and afterwards, when there was a peace process and when there wasn’t one.”

The prime minister was speaking at an event in honor of the late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir at Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

The premier added that much of the Palestinian violence against Israelis was a result of incitement. He noted that Arab attacks on Jews in Israel in the 1920s “started because of the claims of (Jerusalem’s grand mufti) Haj Amin al-Husseini, that the Jews were about to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Third Temple in its stead. Sounds familiar? The incitement continues, and the waves of terror continue.”

Twenty-eight Israelis and three foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Nearly 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

Iran announced last week that it would offer assistance to families of those killed in the wave of Palestinian attacks. The Palestinian Authority has said direct financial assistance would be unacceptable, and called for such funding to be directed through the PA .

The day after Iran’s announcement, Israel denounced the decision, with Netanyahu saying it showed Tehran was “continuing to aid terrorism.” Netanyahu has also repeatedly accused the PA of helping to incite the current round of Palestinian terrorism.

AFP contributed to this report.