Bennett: Abbas Is One of the Biggest Palestinian Terrorists

Leaders from across the political spectrum condemn attack at Jerusalem synagogue; Arab MKs: No justification for targeting civilians; Labor's Herzog: We must settle score with those involved in hideous crime.

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Naftali Bennett.
Naftali Bennett.Credit: Moti Milrod

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) said Tueday that a terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue during prayer services attests more than anything to the despicableness of the murderers, and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas bears full responsibility for the attack.

"Abbas has intentionally turned the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict into a religious one between Jews and Muslims," Lieberman said, "and the systematic incitement he leads against Jews – who he says cannot visit the Temple Mount because they are 'impure' – is the 'go-ahead' for these despicable terror attacks."

Lieberman called on the international community to condemn Abbas' "anti-Semitic statements, which lead to terrible acts of slaughter like the one at the synagogue this morning." Abbas must be told, Lieberman added, that "whoever acts this way cannot be a legitimate political personality."

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said that "Abbas, one of the biggest terrorists to have arisen from the Palestinian people, bears direct responsibility for the Jewish blood spilt on tallit and tefillin while we were busy with delusions about the [peace] process." According to Bennett, "the Palestinians prepared for us an infrastructure of terror and incitement that go in hand in hand. The idea of [erecting concrete barriers] doesn’t stop terror but encourages it. Abbas has declared war on Israel and we must treat that accordingly.”

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog called the attack "a slaughter" and "a heinous crime. The State of Israel must settle the score with anyone involved in this hideous shooting spree, apprehend them and punish them to the full extent," he said. Herzog added that "While waging a firm and uncompromising war on this organized terrorism, we must maintain a dialogue and security coordination with every moderate element around in order to stop the terrorism, prevent more attacks and restore the quiet to the streets."

Arab MKs issued a joint statement condemning the attack, saying there is no justification for targeting civilians and religious worshippers. United Arab List-Ta’al leader Ibrahim Sarsur, Hadash head Mohammed Barakeh and Balad leader Jamal Zahalka said that the continued occupation, Gaza and Jerusalem violence and lack of a political horizon contribute to such actions, and warned the Israeli government not to take any steps that will escalate the situation. The MKs said that the only way to break the cycle of violence is to begin serious negotiations that will bring about the end of the occupation and a just and lasting peace.

Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said in response to the terror attack: "The hands that held the axes are the hands of terrorists, but the voice is the voice of [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas." According to Steinitz, "Whoever calls on Muslims to protect Al Aqsa Mosque from the Jews by all means necessary is directly responsible for the horrible pogrom at the Har Nof synagogue, as well as for the wave or terror attacks and bloody riots in Jerusalem."

Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that "foreign ministers in Europe and the U.S. are tepidly condemning the murder of Jews and on the other hand backing Abbas' constant incitement," and called on the prime minister to convene the security cabinet immediately and take steps to restore security for the citizens of Israel. "Talk doesn't restore security," he said.

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