Heads of IDF, Shin Bet and police condemn settler attacks: ‘Nationalist terror in full sense of term’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Damage caused to Palestinian homes and cars by Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya, on June 21, 2023 (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Damage caused to Palestinian homes and cars by Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya, on June 21, 2023 (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai in a joint statement say that the ongoing settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank are “nationalist terrorism in the full sense of the term.”

“In recent days, violent attacks by Israeli citizens against innocent Palestinians have been carried out in the Judea and Samaria area,” the highly unusual statement reads, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

“These attacks are against every moral and Jewish value and are also nationalist terrorism in the full sense of the term, and we are obliged to fight them,” the three senior officials say.

“The security forces are working against these rioters, risking the lives of IDF soldiers, Israel Police officers, and Shin Bet officers. This violence increases Palestinian terror, harms the State of Israel, and the international legitimacy of the security forces to fight Palestinian terror, and diverts the security forces from their main mission against Palestinian terror,” the statement continues.

From left: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar at a May 9 press conference (Ariel Harmoni / Ministry of Defense)

“The IDF, the Shin Bet and Israel Police are committed to continuing to act with determination and with all the means at our disposal to maintain security and the law in Judea and Samaria. The IDF will divert and increase forces to prevent such incidents in Judea and Samaria, and the Shin Bet will expand arrests, including administrative detentions against the rioters who act in a violent and extreme manner inside the Palestinian villages,” they say.

“We also call on the leaders in the settlements, educators and public leaders, to publicly denounce these acts of violence, and to join the fight against them,” the statement adds.

In the wake of a deadly terror attack in the West Bank, recent days have seen hundreds of settlers rampage inside Palestinian towns and villages, setting fire to homes, cars, and even opening fire in some cases.

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