Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leveled blame on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a terror attack in Jerusalem Wednesday, saying the Palestinian leader was inciting violence against Jews in the city.
At the same time Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for a bolstered police presence in neighborhoods that have seen violent riots in recent months, as stone throwing protests broke out across East Jerusalem Wednesday night.
Netanyahu convened a telephone briefing with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen over the terror attack earlier Wednesday night at a light rail station in the capital.
During the attack, an East Jerusalem Hamas member drove full speed onto a train platform, killing a three-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, and injuring eight others, including her parents.
In response, the prime minister ordered increased security in the capital.
“This is how [PA President Abbas’s] partners in government act, the same Abbas who just a few days ago incited attacks on Jews in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Jerusalem Mayor Barkat called for a return to quiet in the city, which has experienced a spike in violence in recent months.
“We must restore peace and security in Jerusalem,” Barkat said in a statement. “As I have said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must act unequivocally against all violence taking place in the city. Today, more than ever, it is clear that we must send police forces into neighborhoods where there are disturbances, placing them strategically and widely in significant numbers.”
“Following my request, the Prime Minister has given instructions to reinforce the police forces in order for us to implement an operational action plan formulated to deal with riots, including the addition of personnel and special units, using technological means, and increased intelligence.”
President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement: “The atrocious murder of an innocent baby girl, a victim of indiscriminate terrorism, should disgust all those who have a heart.”
“The increasing incitement on the Arab streets and the streets of Jerusalem, which unfortunately receives the backing of leaders in the Arab world, has the ability to destroy the delicate balance of life in Jerusalem, and carry us all into a maelstrom of destruction and pain,” Rivlin said. “As a sovereign people in our own country, and capital city, it is the security forces alone, who have the responsibility to act, decisively and unashamedly, in the face of these brutal terrorist operations.
Earlier in the day, Barkat, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and new Jerusalem police chief Moshe Edri toured the Shuafat area, just a few kilometers from the site of the attack, with Danino saying police would bolster their presence in the capital to quell the violence, which has seen near-daily rock throwing attacks on the light rail.
Right-wing lawmakers were also quick to condemn the attack, and called for measures to prevent future incidents.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home party) wrote on Facebook that the violence began with stones and Molotov cocktails, but “today, regrettably, Jewish blood was spilled.”
“I demand the prime minister and internal security minister act firmly against those who harm Israeli citizens,” he said. “Increase [security] forces in Jerusalem and treat mostly seriously the decline in security in the capital city.”
Shas party MK Eli Yishai charged that the government’s “apathy” in dealing with stoning attacks “caused the terrorists to increase their terror activity — for a long time Jerusalem residents stand helpless as hostages to the unchecked empowerment of Arab rioters.”
“A terrorist is a terrorist, whether he throws a stone or whether he holds a gun, justice is the same for both of them and we must act against them with the same determination. Destroying the homes of terrorists must be the reality in order to create future deterrence,” he wrote on Facebook.
Likud party MK Danny Danon said that the Palestinians were waging “a war on Jerusalem” and said Israel must “fight terror without stuttering.”