Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday charged Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) with setting up a mechanism that would expedite the demolition of homes of Palestinian terrorists.
The measure was one of several announced Sunday, and approved Monday during a security cabinet meeting, to crack down on the recent wave of Palestinian terror that claimed the lives of four Israelis in two separate terror attacks Thursday and Saturday.
Netanyahu asked Shaked to find ways to shorten the legal process to demolish terrorists’ home, in the reintroduction of a controversial Israeli policy popular in the days of the Second Intifada.
Netanyahu convened his security cabinet Monday night to discuss measures to counter the escalation of the Palestinian conflict, and said he was sending thousands of additional police and soldiers into Jerusalem and West Bank areas in order to restore security for Israelis.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the PM said Israel would also “lift restrictions regarding action against inciters, [and] … will act against the Islamic Movement which, together with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, is the main source of incitement.”
On Sunday, following an emergency security meeting 24 hours after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed two Israeli men to death in Jerusalem’s Old City, Netanyahu announced that, in addition to home demolition and an increase in the deployment of security forces, Israel would also widen the use of administrative detentions [the jailing of suspects without trial] for Palestinian suspects and “ban those who incite [to terror] from the Old City and the Temple Mount.”
“We are not prepared to give immunity to any rioter, inciter or terrorist anywhere; therefore, there are no restrictions on the action of our security forces,” Netanyahu said Monday, following the security cabinet meeting.
According to Haaretz, the prime minister also instructed security forces to prevent Israelis from taking the law into their own hands.
Netanyahu on Monday paid a visit to Adele Banita, whose husband Aharon was stabbed to death in a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday night, at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Adele was badly injured in the attack, and the couple’s baby son Matan was lightly injured. Old City resident Nehemia Lavi, who rushed to help the couple during the attack, was also killed.
Netanyahu said he vowed that Israel would smash the current wave of terrorism, and “wished them a full recovery on behalf of the entire people of Israel,” he wrote on Facebook Monday night.
He said Israel was “using a strong hand against the terrorists and those who incite them,” and “we are active on all fronts. Let’s make this clear,” he promised, “just as we’ve smashed previous waves of terrorism, we will also smash this wave of terrorism.”
Banita on Sunday gave a harrowing account of how the deadly stabbing assault unfolded and how her cries for help were ignored as her husband lay fatally wounded on the floor and she herself was stabbed.
Banita said she begged for help from nearby Palestinian shopkeepers and passersby and was laughed, cursed and spat at. According to her account, one Palestinian man even told her to “drop dead” as she pleaded, stabbed and bleeding, for help.
According to the Haaretz report, Netanyahu demanded during the security cabinet meeting that these people be brought to justice.
“We will not accept a situation in which a Jewish woman is stabbed and people avoid helping her, swear at her and kick her. We will bring them to justice,” Netanyahu said.
Outside the Prime Minister’s Residence Monday night, meanwhile, thousands of Israelis demanded firmer action against terrorism, with ministers from Netanyahu’s own likud party among the speakers.