Thousands Outside Netanyahu's Residence Demand 'Security in Judea and Samaria'

Protesters demand 'security in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem and across Israel restored'; Likud cabinet ministers slated to address demonstrators.

Olivier Fitoussi

Thousands of right wing protesters rallied outside the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday evening, demanding "security in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem and across Israel restored," in light of recent terrorist attacks.

The protest was organized by the Samaria Settlers' Committee, which set up a tent outside the Prime Minister's Residence following Thursday's shooting in the northern West Bank which killed two Israelis, Eitam and Naama Henkin.

"We call for new communities to be set up in Judea and Samaria. We expect you (Netanyahu) to order in the [security] cabinet meeting for a new community to be built between Itamar and Elon Moreh, where Jews were murdered," Samaria Regional Council's head, Yossi Dagan, said in a speech at the protest, referring to the site of the shooting.

Olivier Fitoussi

The security cabinet has convened at 9 P.M. to discuss the recent escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Cabinet ministers Haim Katz and Yariv Levin, both Likud members, also addressed the protesters, stressing that the protest isn't against the prime minister. "We're here to strengthen the government to do the things we all believe in," Tourism Minister Levin said. Regarding the security cabinet meeting, Levin said that he hopes to hear it decides on further settlement construction, which he said will enable Israel "to beat terrorism in most Jewish way possible."

Katz, the social affairs minister, called for a heavier hand against stone- and firebomb- throwing Palestinians, and also called for increased construction in the settlements. "Freezing construction encourages the villains. Freezing construction is understood as a weakness, and therefore we must start building kindergartens and schools, expand existing settlements and build new ones," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page that he met Monday evening with Dagan and with Kiryat Arba head Malachi Levinger. His post said that he promised them that "the government is acting with determination and unprecedented measures to ensure the security of the settlers" in the West Bank.

Likud lawmaker Oren Hazan also attended the protest. "We give the prime minister all the support he needs to fight terrorism and take operative steps to quell the intifada, restore security and the sense of security to Israeli citizens wherever they may be, and build across the country," he posted on Facebook.

Israeli Arabs held small protests in Nazareth, Haifa and Kfar Kana following the escalation in the West Bank. The protests were organized by the Al-Hirah a-Shababi youth movement, and were attended by dozens of people. Protesters hoisted Palestinian flags and shouted slogans against the occupation and the Netanyahu government.

Police arrested two protesters in Nazareth after tires were torched and a road blocked by demonstrators.