Israeli Defense Minister Blames Incitement by Arab Lawmakers for Temple Mount, Halamish Attacks

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Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a meeting of his Yisrael Beiteinu party, July 10, 2017.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a meeting of his Yisrael Beiteinu party, July 10, 2017. Credit: Emil Salman

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday accused Arab lawmakers of incitement, after two deadly attacks in the space of a week left five Israelis dead.

Three members of the Salomon family were murdered in the West Bank settlement of Halamish last Friday, while two policemen were shot to death on the Temple Mount the preceding Friday.

“The two attacks are the result of the ongoing incitement by the Palestinian leadership and by MKs from the Joint List and the Islamic Movement,” Lieberman said. The Joint List is a faction of mainly Arab parties in the Knesset.

He was speaking at the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Heritage House for Druze fighters, in Kasra Samia, a village in the Galilee.

“The same people who wanted to visit all the families of the terrorists who murdered innocent people, the same MKs who attended the funerals of mass murderers, refuse to condemn these attacks and continue to incite,” said Lieberman. “And that’s why I said we’ll do everything possible so that these people will never be able to be elected to the Knesset. We have to do everything possible to stop this hysteria and incitement.”

Lieberman was one of the instigators of a 2014 law that raised the electoral threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent. It was meant to hit small parties, especially the Arab parties, but they formed the Joint List to increase their chances of Knesset representation.

On July 14, two Druze policemen were killed in a shooting attack at the entrance to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem: Staff Sgt. Maj. Hael Sathawi, 30, of Maghar, and Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shnaan, 22, of Hurfeish. Another policeman was moderately wounded. The terrorists, three residents of Umm al-Fahm, were shot to death. After the attacks, the police decided to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount, which led to a harsh protest by the Waqf, Jordan and Muslim worshippers at the site.

And last Friday, three members of the Salomon family – Yosef Salomon, 70, and his two adult children, Elad, 36, and Chaya, 46 – were murdered by a 20-year-old Palestinian assailant who entered their home during a Shabbat meal and stabbed them all to death. Yosef Salomon’s wife, Tovah, was also wounded during the attack.

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