Calling Palestinians 'Animals,' Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Vows Retribution After Shooting Attack

'We lived in false hope that if we would help them they would change their animal behavior,' says Meir Turgeman. Jerusalem mayor says remarks don't reflect municipal policy.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Jerusalem deputy mayor Meir Turgeman.
Jerusalem deputy mayor Meir Turgeman.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meir Turgeman, who is chairman of the planning and building board, said Monday he would “punish” the residents of East Jerusalem because of Sunday’s terror attack that left two people dead.

“We have reached the moment of truth,” he said in an interview on Radio Jerusalem. “Let’s put all the cards on the table. The people in East Jerusalem want to kill us and destroy us. Why do we need to give them a new chance every day?”

“Each time we lived in false hope that these people, if we would help them, would change their animal behavior, but it turns out that nothing helps,” he said. “Why do people need to die in Jerusalem? Where is it written, and who said it? We have to take responsibility here. And I am going to give an example. I took all the construction plans related to East Jerusalem off the agenda. I shelved all of the plans. They say carrots and sticks. There are no carrots left, only sticks.”

As chairman of the local building and planning board, Turgeman has the authority to change the agenda and prevent plans from being discussed. However, in this case the municipality will be exposed to petitions by developers and landowners who will claim that the delays stem from ulterior motives.

Reacting to Turgeman’s remarks, the office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stated: “The things said are not the opinion of the mayor and do not reflect municipal policy. The way to thwart terror is to fight it uncompromisingly and with a tough hand against those who choose the path of terror, incitement and violence, and at the same time to strengthen the moderates and to serve the residents interested in obeying the law.”

Turgeman stressed that it is not a one-way street. “It is impossible to shelve construction plans in Gilo and Ramat Shlomo because of such demands,” said Turgeman, referring to international pressure to halt Jewish construction in East Jerusalem, “and we keep giving candy and more candy and more candy to people who constantly want to annihilate us. It’s over. I am taking responsibility, and anyone who doesn’t like it can fire me.”

Calls for family's expulsion

Turgeman also called for immediately expelling the family of the terrorist. “If we don’t take a drastic measure and load the terrorist’s family on a bus and send them to Gaza I know the Arabs, and I have worked with them many years. The moment we deal with them with a heavy hand, the moment that the terrorist’s family today finds themselves on a bus to Gaza with a one-way ticket, I promise you that they will think 1,000 times before committing an act of terror,” he said.

Turgeman further called on dividing the Palestinian neighborhoods from Jerusalem. “There are neighborhoods in Jerusalem that we can let go,” he said. “It’s enough, all this killing, this slaughter. There are neighborhoods like the Shoafat refugee camp that will die there. They will kill one another. Let them do what they want to do.”

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