Netanyahu: Jewish Extremists Not a 'Terror Group' but Will Be Given Military Trial

PM approves series of steps to crack down on right-wing extremists that recently attacked IDF soldiers, carried out 'price tag' attacks.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved Wednesday a series of steps that would crack down on Jewish extremists responsible for recent violent attacks on IDF soldiers and other targets, but rejected a recommendation to label them a "terror group."

Netanyahu approved issuing administrative detention orders for the Jewish extremists, as is usually done with Palestinians suspected of being a security risk. Moreover, the prime minister approved trying the Jewish activists in military courts, which would effectively expedite their sentencing and make their punishment more severe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Netanyahu also gave IDF soldiers the authority to carry out arrests in the West Bank and to increase the number of activists from the extreme right that could be removed from the West Bank.

In addition, Israel will expand Shin Bet and Israel Police investigation teams, and the State Prosecution and the IDF will receive more resources for investigations.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that Netanyahu has rejected recommendations by Israeli security forces to define Jewish extremists in the West Bank as terrorists.

"Whoever lays a hand on IDF soldiers or Israeli policemen will be harshly punished," Netanyahu said but assured, "These people are a small group that does not represent those living in Judea and Samaria - people loyal to the state and its laws and who condemn such behavior."

Earlier Wednesday, dozens of right-wing activists clashed with police officers in Jerusalem, amid attempts to arrest suspects linked to recent so-called price tag attacks.

Clashes in Jerusalem followed a series of recent violent events involving extremist Jewish activists. Also on Wednesday, a mosque of historical significance in the capital was set alight overnight in another apparent "price tag" attack.

Arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem, with damage mainly consisting of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading Price Tag, and anti-Islamic phrases.

Earlier, fears that the Israel Defense Forces was about to evacuate an illegal outpost triggered several violent incidents targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.

Two trucks and a car were torched in the Palestinian village of Duma near Nablus, with the inscription "camaraderie Mitzpe Yitzhar" spray painted nearby.

In another incident, rocks were reported to have hurled at Palestinian vehicles passing through the Tapuach and Rechalim Junction; a young Jewish woman was arrested in relation to the attacks.

On Tuesday, dozens of right-wing activists infiltrated an IDF base in the West Bank, with others assaulting the vehicle of a top military officer, who escaped with minor injuries.

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