Right-wing MKs: Call off US peace push over terror attack

Minister says Har Adar shooting, which killed 3 Israelis, was a message to US envoy Jason Greenblatt upon his arrival in Israel

US President Donald Trump's envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchange greetings at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, July 12, 2017. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
US President Donald Trump's envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchange greetings at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, July 12, 2017. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Coalition ministers lawmakers said Israel should call off any attempts to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority following a terror attack on Tuesday morning outside the Har Adar settlement.

Three Israeli security officers were killed and one seriously hurt in the attack, which took place hours after US special envoy Jason Greenblatt arrived in the country as part of his continued efforts to resuscitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack and likened it to Islamic terrorism throughout the world.

“The Palestinian Authority continues to incite the murder of Jews and to laud and praise murderers,” he said in a statement, charging that “the atmosphere of incitement throughout media and social networks leads to terror attacks against citizens of the State of Israel.

“There is no difference between Palestinian terror, which is institutionally fed and fueled, and radical Islamic terror that carries out attacks in Europe and other places in the world. Before speaking about any kind of negotiations, the world must demand that the PA stop inciting and fanning the flames of terror.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz highlighted the fact that the terrorist possessed a permit to work in the settlement, saying it would have “serious implications for the ability to employ Palestinians and ease their conditions of passage.”

He added, “The attack is also a message to special US envoy Greenblatt, who is visiting Israel today. Israel’s security was and yet remains the supreme consideration in the government’s policy, and is above any other consideration of improving and easing the lives of the Palestinians.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that the attack was intended to send a message ahead of any US-mediated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

From a vantage point near the Temple Mount, Tzipi Hotovely waves the Israeli flag, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, May 1, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The terrible attack this morning in Har Adar is the reception that the Palestinians prepared for US envoy Greenblatt,” she said in a statement. “The American efforts must focus first of all on stopping the murderous Palestinian terror before anything else. There can be no negotiations with those who only fan the flames of terrorism and continue to pay the families of terrorists.”

Speaking at the scene of the attack, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said police had been on high alert over the Jewish High Holiday season but did not have any specific warning of an impending attack. He said that the incident shouldn’t be treated as a “lone-wolf” attack because its context was incitement and Islamic extremism, and that violence had nothing to do with the Palestinian territorial dispute with Israel.

“We are in an era of lone-wolf attacks, but it is based on radical Islam and incitement” he said. “It is impossible to speak here of any nationalistic territorial struggle, which proves to me that the conflict is religious and not territorial.”

In addition to echoing Hotovely in calling for a moratorium on all negotiations with the PA, coalition whip MK David Bitan (Likud) called for a total ban on Palestinians entering Israel in the wake of the attack, which was carried out by a laborer who possessed a permit to work in Jewish settlements.

“In the wake of the attack we must immediately put an end to Palestinians entering Israeli territory,” he said in a statement. “Palestinian terrorism takes advantage of our goodwill in order to murder. We must immediately reexamine the policy of issuing permits [for Palestinians] to enter Israel and to understand that there is no reason for lip-service political negotiations with those who want to destroy us.”

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich attends a committee meeting regarding the so-called Regulation Bill, which is designed to avert the court-ordered demolition of the West Bank outpost of Amona by December 25, on November 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Far-right Jewish Home party MK Bezalel Smotrich said that the only way to end terror attacks was to stop giving the Palestinians hope that there would ever be a negotiated deal.

It is “the usual ritual,” he tweeted. “We just begin talking about restarting negotiations [with the PA] and already we pay the painful price. Hope is the force that drives murderous Arab terror. Every time we awaken it, it rises up and attacks us. Only removing hope will end terrorism.”

Likud MK Yehudah Glick, in contrast, condemned the terrorist for the damage he had caused to Palestinians.

“A murderous Palestinian with a work permit who killed three, including an Israeli Arab, harms hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who work for their livelihood and have now become suspects,” Glick tweeted. “He damaged coexistence and harmed his people. It is good that he was taken out.”

President Reuven Rivlin offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

“In such difficult moments, our hearts go out to the families of those murdered, and we pray for recovery of those injured. Such a brutal terror attack once again shows the daily front line on which our security forces stand, charged today with the most important mission – the safeguarding and defense of the citizens of Israel. We will continue to confront terror, and will reach all its perpetrators and supporters,” he said in a statement.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri of the Shas party said his ministry has offered full support to the head of the Har Adar council, adding on Twitter that it was “a very sad morning for all of us. Three Israelis murdered in Har Adar by a vile person.”

After expressing his sorrow at the attack, Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said that it was a “serious blow” to coexistence efforts.

“Har Adar is a community that over the years has come to stand for a relationship of coexistence between Jews and Arabs,” he tweeted. “This attack is also a serious blow to trust between the communities and the residents living there.”

Newly elected head of the Israeli Labor party Avi Gabbay (R) with former leader Isaac Herzog on July 12, 2017. (FLASH90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of Gabbay’s party also tweeted his condolences.

“It is a very very difficult and sad morning with a brutal attack that strikes us specifically during the Tishrei festive season,” he wrote. “Let’s set our arguments aside, embrace the bereaved families and pray for the recovery of the wounded.”

Other lawmakers from the Zionist Union, including Amir Peretz and Tzipi Livni, took to social media to offer their condolences.

Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party, also offered his condolences.

“Pain and anger at the murder in Har Adar,” he said. “My heart is with the families and the settlement where terror reached the gates.”

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