Speaking in the wake of a firebombing attack in the West Bank that left a Palestinian toddler dead, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday lashed out at Mahmoud Abbas, accusing the Palestinian Authority president of failing to condemn acts of Palestinian terrorism.
Netanyahu, addressing the weekly cabinet meeting, compared Israeli officials’ swift condemnation of Friday’s alleged Jewish terrorist attack to what he said was an inadequate response on the part of PA officials after Palestinian terrorists targeted Israeli civilians.
“We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end,” he said. “They name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up,” he said.
“It is important to say this even as we utter our condemnations and unite against the criminals among our people,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister also said that there would be a “zero tolerance” policy toward such crimes in Israel, and vowed to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
“We recently witnessed two abhorrent crimes. Our policy toward these crimes is zero tolerance,” he said, referring both to the killing of the Palestinian child and a stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Thursday.
Netanyahu recalled visiting the home of the historian Joseph Klausner as a child. Over the arched entrance to Klausner’s home, said the prime minister, the words “Judaism” and “humanity” were engraved in Hebrew.
The perpetrators of last week’s crimes did not represent Judaism, he said.
The prime minister said he had instructed security and law enforcement officials to use all legal tools at their disposal to apprehend the perpetrators of the arson attack and prosecute the perpetrator of the stabbing attack.
“We are determined to vigorously fight manifestations of hate, fanaticism and terrorism from whatever side. The fight against these phenomena unites us all.
“This is not a struggle by this or that faction. This is a matter of basic humanity and is at the foundation of our enlightened Jewish values,” he said.
The assailant in Thursday’s anti-gay attack was an ultra-Orthodox Jew, Yishai Schlissel, who had just been released after serving 10 years in jail for carrying out a similar attack at the 2005 Pride Parade. On Sunday, doctors said that one of the six victims, who suffered multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen, remained in critical condition.
On Friday, unknown assailants suspected to be Jewish settlers firebombed the home of a Palestinian family in the northern West Bank village of Duma, killing a toddler. The parents and brother of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha were hospitalized and are still fighting for their lives.
The family’s small brick and cement home was gutted by fire, and a Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah.”
The phrases were indicative of so-called “price tag” violence — a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists.
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