Netanyahu: Israel Will Expedite Demolition of Terrorists' Homes

Day after two Israelis stabbed to death in Jerusalem's Old City, prime minister orders measures to curb terrorism; meanwhile, violence resumes in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu points finger at Iranian aggression and no one cares except Israelis
Netanyahu points finger at Iranian aggression and no one cares except IsraelisCredit: AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following a meeting with top security officials at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv Sunday that he has instructed that the demolition of the homes of Palestinian terrorists be expedited as one of the steps to curb the wave of terrorist attacks.

Netanyahu said that he has also instructed to step up administrative detentions, deploy more forces in Jerusalem and in the West Bank and to remove agitators from Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount.

Meanwhile, widespread clashes erupted across East Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. One Palestinian was lightly wounded and at least five were arrested.

The meeting was held shortly after Netanyahu arrived in Israel from the UN General Assembly in New York. The four-hour-long discussion was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen.

"We're running an all-out war against Palestinian terrorism," Netanyahu said in a statement after the meeting.

"I've instructed further measures to prevent terror and deter and punish the terrorists," he said.

A senior official who attended the meeting told Haaretz that senior IDF and Shin Bet officers don’t' think there are any large-scale preparations for an 'Intifada' (an uprising) in the West Bank, stating that what is taking place is a wave of terror to which Palestinian Authority incitement has contributed.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Isawiyya, East Jerusalem, October 4, 2015.Credit: Reuters

'The knife was still in me'

On Sunday evening, security forces clashed with Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shoafat, Isawiyaa, Abu Tur, and the Muslim Quarter in the Old City. At least five Palestinians were arrested in separate incidents: Two were arrested in Shoafat where protesters tried to block a main road; a youth was lightly wounded and then arrested when a group pelted a Border Patrol force in Abu Tur; a 15-year-old was arrested after throwing a firecracker at police officers in the Muslim Quarter, and another teen was arrested after throwing stones at security near the Flowers' Gate in the Old City.

Earlier on Sunday, Palestinians threw an improvised explosive at a Border Patrol officer, lightly wounded him, near the Palestinian side of Rachel's Tomb.

Netanyahu convened the meeting following the terror attacks last week in Jerusalem and in the West Bank, and due to the escalation in violence in East Jerusalem. The bodies of Nehemia Lavie, 41, and Aharon Benita, 21, who were both stabbed to death by a terrorist in Jerusalem on Saturday night were laid to rest at the Har Menuhot cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Benita, of Beitar Ilit, was returning from the Western Wall at the time of the attack. Benita's 22-year-old wife was seriously wounded in the attack, and his two-year-old son was lightly wounded. Lavie apparently emerged from his home to help the Benitas. The terrorist, Mohannad Hallabi, was shot dead by security forces.

Benita's wife Odel recounted the attack on Sunday and said that when she was running toward the security officers she turned to passersby for help, but was turned away. "All the way I was running I heard curses, I was spat on, I was slapped in the face," she said. "The knife was still in me."

She described how her husband fought his assailant: "My husband punched him in the face, really fought him, because my husband is big and strong and he was very small compared to him. And I didn't understand what was going on. And around us Arabs started gathering, looking and not saying anything, and even laughing and smiling."

According to her, she realized she couldn't fight the attacker and tried to run to the soldiers' position. "I ran up to the security forces and told them, 'I'm wounded and my husband and two babies are there and they're alone, my husband is stabbed all over, I don't know how they are.' Then I fell to the floor and felt like I couldn't move. Then they started treating me."

Rescue services at scene of terror attack at Jerusalem Old City's Lions' Gate. October 3, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

In a separate attack later that night, a Palestinian was shot dead by security forces after allegedly stabbing an Israeli teen, moderately wounding him. The assailant's father and uncle have been arrested, and police blocked the entrance to their neighborhood, Isawiyya.

Palestinians cast doubts on the Israeli report that Fadi Alon tried to stab a Jew. Based on a video that was distributed, they report that a group of Jews attacked him and called on the police to shoot him without reason.

Palestinians reported that since the attacks, more than 100 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire and tear gas in clashes with the Israeli army in the West Bank.

Army forces entered the village of Surda, north of Ramallah, where Hallabi's family resides around 2 A.M. on Sunday. The troops were met with some resistance, including gunfire. The force entered Hallabi's home, conducted a search, interrogated the father and confiscated some of the terrorist's effects. The family removed all the home's contents, expecting the army to demolish it, although it had yet to receive a demolition order.

On Thursday, Eitam and Naama Henkin were shot dead in a terrorist attack east of Nablus in the West Bank. The two, a couple from the settlement of Neria, were driving with their four children on the road between Alon Moreh and Itamar when they were shot. The children were unhurt. A group called the Al-Aasfa Militias claimed responsibility for the attack.

Following the murder, tensions rose in Jerusalem and the Nablus area. Four additional Israel Defense Forces battalions were sent to Nablus, and the area has been put on lockdown in attempts to find the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the attack.

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