Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Thursday at the international community for “showing weakness” and failing to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to denounce Wednesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem, as well as failing to criticize the latter’s support of terrorism.
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“The attack in Jerusalem was supported by the head of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen [Abbas],” said Netanyahu during a security briefing with the Israel Police general staff in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. “He also praises the murders and is close to the organization that the terrorists belong to – Hamas. We are encountering weakness from the international community against these actions from the Palestinian Authority president. They are not willing to say two words, or even one word of criticism against him.”
Netanyahu compared the attack in Jerusalem to Wednesday’s attack that occurred in Ottawa, Canada. “Not only is Jerusalem under terror attack, but also other capitals in other countries around the world are also facing this kind of attack,” he said. “There is no weakness here, we will stand firm in our rights and our responsibility to defend our capital. We will do it forcefully – and we will win.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni claimed that the escalation in Jerusalem is also the result of Israeli “provocations,” and not completely due to Palestinian actions. “Denunciation of Abu Mazen’s escalating statements on Jerusalem are justified but they’re not enough,” said Livni. “We also must put a stop to belligerent statements, proposing irresponsible legislature, provocation through construction or celebrating seizing homes in Muslim areas in the middle of the night.”
Livni also said that the clashes in Jerusalem must not deteriorate from a national conflict into a religious one. “Now is the time to act with wisdom and responsibility. This responsibility is on the shoulders of both sides,” she said, adding “one misstep now could bring Jerusalem down, and all of us with it. Right now, wisdom and Israeli patriotism means stepping on the breaks, driving responsibly and stopping a moment before it’s too late.”
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also attended the briefing held by Netanyahu, as did Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Shin Bet security service head Yoram Cohen and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement indicating that Netanyahu “instructed that sovereignty be enforced in all parts of the city by positioning additional forces throughout the capital.”
After the briefing, Netanyahu said that “united Jerusalem was, and will remain, the capital of Israel forever ... Every attempt to harm its residents will be met with the harshest of responses – we will restore quiet and security to Jerusalem.”