PM: Not looking for escalation 'but ready for possibility'

Diaspora minister: ‘Neo-Nazi’ Palestinian Authority is ‘antisemitic to its core’

Chikli says alternatives to PA ‘should be examined’; after 7 slain in Jerusalem, PM says cabinet to discuss revoking ID cards, residency of terror-supporting relatives of attackers

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli in Herzliya, January 5, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli in Herzliya, January 5, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, speaking in the wake of the deadliest terror attack against Israelis in over a decade, said Sunday that the Palestinian Authority was a “neo-Nazi entity” and that alternatives to it should be examined.

“I think that the Palestinian Authority, as of today, is the enemy of the State of Israel. We still do not have any peace agreement with it. It is an enemy entity, an entity that is antisemitic to its core, and we need to examine alternatives to it,” he said.

“I see the Palestinian Authority as a neo-Nazi entity in its essence and outlook,” Chikli told the Ynet news site in response to the Friday evening attack, which killed seven people, including a 14-year-old boy, and wounded three near a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood

“The most antisemitic political entity on earth is the Palestinian Authority, in which 93 percent of the population advocates antisemitic positions,” he said, referring to a 2014 report by the Anti-Defamation League.

“The address for this is the Palestinian Authority itself and its leader, an avowed Holocaust denier, who accused Israel of committing 50 holocausts while standing on German soil,” Chikli added, referring to a fiercely criticized speech last year by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The PA has pay-to-slay — the more Jews you kill, the more money you get. [The PA] is the source of the problems and terror,” he said. “If I were in the [security] cabinet, I would demand sanctions and actions…. against the Palestinian Authority.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on August 16, 2022. (JENS SCHLUETER / AFP)

The PA makes regular payments to terror convicts and to families of dead Palestinian attackers, which Israel and other critics say offer a direct incentive for terror. The practice of paying those allowances — referred to by some Israeli officials as a pay-to-slay policy — has been defended by Palestinian leaders, who describe them as a form of social welfare.

Chikli, who rose to prominence by voting against his former party, Yamina, in the previous Knesset and then jumping ship to the Likud party, also commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeals for citizens not to take matters into their own hands in the wake of Friday’s deadly terror attack in Jerusalem.

The Diaspora affairs minister, who also holds the social equality portfolio in the cabinet, claimed the premier was in fact referring to protesters against the government’s contentious plans to remake the judiciary.

“The calls for civil disobedience — they’re coming from the left, I’m sad to say, not the right. And I hope the left don’t take things into their own hands,” he said. He later clarified that he believed the premier was making a general warning to all citizens.

There have been no warnings about danger emanating from the protest movement.

Meanwhile, masked attackers set alight a car in a West Bank Palestinian town overnight Saturday, destroying the vehicle in an apparent act of revenge after the terror shooting in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.

Security and rescue forces at the scene of a deadly terror shooting attack in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem, January 27, 2023 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In addition to Netanyahu’s comments, security officials have warned they are concerned that far-right extremists could carry out revenge attacks.

In fact, one of the journalists interviewing Chikli was attacked by onlookers on Saturday evening at the scene of the deadly terror attack in Neve Yaakov. Video from the scene showed the crowd tearing down fencing around the journalists while chanting “leftists go home” and “death to terrorists.” Several men approached the reporters as they broadcast, shouting and gesturing at them. Others kicked over chairs and attempted to topple lighting equipment.

Netanyahu ‘not seeking escalation’

In his comments at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Netanyahu said, “We will exact a price from those who carry out terrorist attacks and from their supporters.”

The premier noted that the security cabinet had agreed on Saturday on a number of steps in the wake of the attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 29, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Netanyahu said the cabinet would additionally discuss revoking the Israeli identity cards and residency rights of terror-supporting relatives of attackers, as well as expanding and expediting the issuing of weapons permits to thousands of civilians, including those in the rescue services.

“We will decide soon on steps to strengthen settlement [activity] in Judea and Samaria in order to make it clear to the terrorists who seek to uproot us from our land that we are here to stay,” Netanyahu said, using the biblical name for the West Bank. He didn’t provide further details.

“While we are not seeking escalation, we are prepared for any possibility. Our answer to terrorism is an iron fist and a powerful, swift and precise response,” he said.

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