While addressing the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned recent settler riots and vandalism in the Arab town of Huwara in Samaria.
Following a Palestinian terrorist shooting attack which killed two Israeli brothers while they drove on Highway 60 through Huwara, Jewish protestors arrived with angry extremists who set 35 homes and shops on fire, as well as two junkyards and local vehicles.
“With all the fervor and the passion, there is no place for anarchy, we will not accept anarchy,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli premier blasted the targeting of innocent people.
“We will not accept a reality where people … set homes on fire, burn cars, intentionally harm innocent people. This is exactly what our enemies want to see: a loss of control and a never-ending cycle of blood, fire and smoke,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister urged Israelis to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and to let Israel’s security forces deal with the terrorist threat.
“And when I say ‘we,’ I mean only the defensive forces of the State of Israel – the IDF and the security forces. They know how to do it. They are doing it,” said Netanyahu.
The prime minister urged the political opposition “to enter one room and start talking. I am convinced that with good will, we can come to agreements. Let’s listen to the real cry of the mother of those boys, Esti Yaniv, who is calling on us from the depths of her soul to get together and talk.”
Condemning the settler rioting, opposition leader Yair Lapid said the Netanyahu government had “lost control” of the country’s security and was failing to function properly.
“Two months after the establishment of a full-on, right-wing government, the scope of [terror] attacks is increasing, terrorists are raising their heads, and the army is confused and does not understand its chain of command,” said Lapid.
In the November election, Netanyahu and his political allies vowed to defeat the terrorism that was sweeping across the country. Despite dozens of arrest raids being conducted in terrorist hotspots, the security situation has gradually deteriorated.
Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who served as the country’s deputy prime minister last year, also blasted the Netanyahu coalition for failing to function as a government.
“Nowadays, there is no government in Israel – there is chaos,” warned Gantz.
“Those accused of terrorism and incitement, sitting at the government table and in the cabinet under Netanyahu’s auspices, are harming the deep security interests of the State of Israel,” he added, likely referring to far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who has recently emerged as a voice of moderation in Israel’s divisive politics, condemned the settler protests in Huwara for devolving into riots.
“I strongly condemn the cruel and violent rampage against the residents of Huwara yesterday. This is not our way. It is criminal violence against innocents,” Herzog stated.
The Israeli president warned that the conduct of Jewish extremists undermined Israel’s security.
“It harms the State of Israel, it harms us, it harms settlers. It harms security forces who are busy searching for those responsible for the terror attack, and, most of all, it harms us as a moral society and a lawful country.”
Herzog stressed that Israel “is a country of laws and we are proud of that. Our principles and our foundations as a nation and a country are totally opposed to any attack against innocents.”
Meanwhile, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price condemned the settler riots in Huwara as “completely unacceptable.”
“We expect the Israeli government to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for these attacks, in addition to compensation for the loss of homes and property,” Price said.
He also stressed the importance of accountability to avoid violence in the future.
“Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremist violence and equal resources dedicated to prevent such attacks and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.