Convening his security cabinet Monday night amid a major escalation of the Palestinian conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was sending thousands of additional police and soldiers into Jerusalem and West Bank areas in order to restore security for Israelis.
“We’ve added four battalions to the IDF deployment in Judea and Samaria and thousands of police in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said, as he prepared to meet with his ministers and security chiefs for the second time in two days. “The police are going deep into (Arab East Jerusalem) neighborhoods as never before” to thwart demonstrations and arrest offenders, he said.
“We’ll destroy the homes of terrorists. We’re enabling forceful actions against stone throwers and those who throw petrol bombs,” he vowed. “This is necessary in order to preserve security for Israelis, on the roads and everywhere else.”
Netanyahu spoke after several days of escalating violence. Four Israelis have been killed in terror attacks since Thursday. A five-man Hamas cell who killed Naama and Eitam Henkin in the West Bank Thursday night have been arrested, Israeli security officials announced Monday night.
A Palestinian teen was said killed by IDF troops in Bethlehem on Monday, the second such casualty in the space of 24 hours, as Palestinians threw stones, firebombs and burning tires at security forces in some 25 locations in the course of Monday.
Netanyahu was to receive an update on the situation on the ground at the cabinet meeting Monday night, and the cabinet was expected to decide on further action to counter the violence. Among the measures planned by the prime minister are a widening of administrative detentions (arrest without trial), the expedited demolition of terrorists’ homes, and the boosting of security forces in flashpoint areas.
Police are planning to indict Palestinians in the Old City who did not respond to pleas for help from Adele Banita, who begged for assistance when she was stabbed and badly wounded, and her husband was stabbed to death, in the Old City on Saturday night.
The prime minister has partly blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting the escalation in violence. Abbas has alleged — including during his speech to the UN last Wednesday — that Israel is allowing “extremists” into the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and that Israel plans to change the status quo regarding access to the contested holy site. Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected these claims.
Right-wing Israelis were protesting outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Monday evening, at the close of the Sukkot holiday, against what they believe is insufficient government action in the face of rising terrorism.
Security officials called in some 25 right-wing extremists to warn them not to carry out acts of violence against Palestinians, Channel 2 said.
Germany on Monday voiced concern about the risk of a “new intifada,” three days ahead of Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin. “What possibly awaits us here is something like a new intifada,” said foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer. “That can’t be in anyone’s interest — it can’t be something anyone in Israel wants, or which any responsible Palestinian politician wants.
Netanyahu held a four-hour security meeting Sunday evening on the recent uptick in violence.
At the end of the meeting, Netanyahu announced that he has instructed security forces to “fast-track the razing of terrorists’ homes, expand the use of administrative detention against Palestinian rioters, reinforce the presence of security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and ban those who incite [to terror] from the Old City and the Temple Mount.”
Israel is “waging a fight to the death against Palestinian terror,” the prime minister said Sunday.