Netanyahu: Settler Harassment of Arabs Would Have Shocked Begin

At memorial service for former prime minister and Likud leader, Netanyahu reiterates that the State of Israel will not tolerate such a 'distorted' form of protest against the government.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday said the State of Israel would not tolerate the "minority" of extreme rightists have undertaken a policy of harassing Palestinians to protest efforts to curb activity in West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu lashed out at those who have adopted the so-called "price tag" policy, declaring: "Not one person is above the law. This is an extremist minority, a small and marginal number of our brothers in the settlement, harming those enforcing law and order and on innocent people just because they happen to be Arabs," Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Settlers and their supporters protesting in Jerusalem, Nov 21, 2010Credit: Daniel Bar-On

"I am certain Begin would have expressed grief and shock regarding this same small and marginal minority," Netanyahu added. "The State of Israel will not tolerate or accept the harassment of Arabs as a method of protest against the government. It is a completely distorted sense of civil protest, of human value and the Jewish spirit of justice."

Netanyahu's condemnation came a day after a leading cleric, Rabbi Dov Wolpe, said settlers must respond with force if attacked by Israel Defense Forces soldiers. "When IDF soldiers fire rubber bullets at Jewish residents, these residents must return rubber bullets at them," Wolpe was recorded as saying.

Wolpe later said that he had made the pronouncement in anger over clashes that occurred earlier this week during the demolition of a West Bank outpost, and that he had not intended to urge settlers to attack soldiers.

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