Gantz Condemns 'Hate Crimes' in Meeting on Settler Violence Against Palestinians

Yaniv Kubovich
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Haaretz Conference on Democracy, last week.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Haaretz Conference on Democracy, last week. Credit: הדס פרוש
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel's Defense Minister called the upsurge in settler violence against Palestinians "a grave phenomenon" in a situation assessment he held on Thursday.

In a reference to Palestinian olive trees that have been chopped down in some of the incidents, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, "What begins with a tree may end in bodily harm and, God forbid, in death. Hate crimes are the root from which terrorism grows and we must uproot it.”

Gantz was presented with data about the hate crime problem and information about the reinforcement of security forces during the fall Palestinian olive harvest. Interagency cooperation was also discussed.

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The defense minister called for a joint effort to address locations in the West Bank that are flash points of friction or that have been in the past and to deploy special units to address the issue. He also called for the forces on the ground to be provided with the necessary legal resources.

Gantz designated Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster to monitor implementation of the plans. Among those in attendance at the meeting in addition to Schuster were army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Shin Bet security agency chief Ronen, the commander of the IDF's Central Command, Yehuda Fuchs, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Ghasan Alyan.

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