Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night demanded international “denunciation” of Palestinian terrorism against Israel, and accused Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority of peddling relentless incitement against Israel.
At a press conference on the day that two East Jerusalem Palestinian terrorists killed four worshipers at prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue and a policeman who helped shoot them dead, Netanyahu said Israel would “settle scores” with the terrorists, and called for “national unity” in Israel to face the escalating wave of violence.
“Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the PA are spreading false rumors, saying we are defiling the Temple Mount, that we plan to destroy holy sites — those are all lies,” he said.
He added that a “blood libel” was spread about the suicide of a Palestinian bus driver for the Egged company on Sunday, in further anti-Israel incitement.
These factors were part of the context in which Tuesday’s Har Nof synagogue attack took place, he charged.
Netanyahu described the four Jewish victims as “innocent and pure” and sent condolences to their families. (At the time of his press conference, police officer Zidan Saif was still fighting for his life in the hospital. He died later Tuesday.)
“This time,” noted Netanyahu, Abbas “condemned the massacre… and that’s good… but it’s not enough.” He said Abbas’s subsequent comments continued to distort the Jerusalem reality.
Israel, he said, faces “daily, hourly incitement” in the PA territories… “incitement against the very fact of Israel’s existence.”
There is incessant incitement in schools, mosques, media — “that’s the root of the conflict: the refusal to accept the legitimacy” of the Jewish state, he charged.
“To my sorrow,” he added, the world has not demanded that the PA end incitement against Israel. “I urge all world leaders… I want to see shock, utter denunciation” of terrorism, of the murder of Jews in their prayer shawls, he said.
Netanyahu went on to lament that some in the international community are preparing to give the Palestinians the prize of recognition for a state, without requiring them to recognize Israel. “We won’t accept that,” he said.
He promised that Israel would “settle scores” with the terrorists, and specified that Israel will demolish their homes.
The prime minister went on to warn Israelis, “Nobody should take the law into their own hands.”
He noted that “we’ve always had to grapple with terrorism,” facing “those who want to uproot us from our land.
“We have to unite,” he urged, “around Jerusalem, and the security of the citizens of Israel. We need to stand together.” He called for “national unity” — a term some political analysts later said constituted an invitation to other parties to join his coalition, that he made no such specific suggestion.
He also said terrorism can be defeated, and declared that Israel would prevail.
Asked about Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen’s statement earlier today to the effect that Abbas is not inciting violence, Netanyahu said there was “no gulf” between their assessments.
It was true that Abbas doesn’t send out terrorists or directly promote terror attacks, the prime minister allowed. But, Netanyahu went on, the PA, which Abbas heads, and he himself, sometimes say things that “do promote terrorism in the sense that they incite violence in the people who hear these things.”