Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu Calls for Calm, Blasts Arab Leaders Over Riots

Prime Minister emphasizes 'hard line' against lawbreakers, warns Israeli Arabs that citizenship entails following the law.
By Tova Dvorin and Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 7/6/2014, 12:21 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Israelis to remain calm on Sunday, addressing the rise in terror attacks against Israelis nationwide. 

"We are working on several fronts simultaneously," Netanyahu noted. "Tonight we acted against many Hamas targets in Gaza, and the goal of all our actions is to restore peace and security to all Israeli citizens - especially in the south."

Netanyahu indicated that the IDF would not be launching a wide-scale assault in Gaza despite a wave of rocket attacks against southern Israel - at least, not immediately.  

"Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness," he said. "We will do everything in our power to restore peace and security to the south." 

Netanyahu also addressed the tense situation in Jerusalem, which has been beleaguered by Arab rioting and a flurry of attacks on Israelis. 

"At the end of the week, we also acted decisively against the riots in Jerusalem and in Arab communities," he said. "We are taking a hard line with lawbreakers and incitement on either side." 

"There is no place in Israel for throwing rocks at police, there is no place for throwing Molotov cocktails, there is no place for vandalism, there is no place for incitement against Israel's very existence," he fired. 

He then addressed Israeli Arabs, who have been instrumental in the rioting - especially in the "Triangle" swath of land between Taibe and Umm Al-Fahm. 

"You cannot enjoy social security payments and child benefit on the one hand, and violate the most basic laws of the State of Israel on the other," he stated. "I call upon leaders of the Arab public to take responsibility, to face the wave of rioting and restore peace."

"Those who do not respect the law will be arrested and punished severely," he added.

Israel is on high alert Sunday, after days of Arab rioting in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and in the north. 

Rioting throughout Jerusalem last week erupted after rumors circulated that 16-year-old Mohammed Abu-Khder's murder was an act of Jewish "revenge" over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19). 

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as some in the international media, have since repeated those claims as fact. Israeli leaders - including the mayor of Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu - rushed to condemn the murder, despite the lack of clear evidence suggesting that the murder was an act of nationalistic revenge. 

Conflicting testimonies from the boy's own parents about an alleged attempt to abduct their younger son some time before have raised further questions about the possibility of criminal or some other motive.

Ultimatum unheeded

The IDF issued an ultimatum on Thursday, calling to stop the rocket fire within 48 hours or face war. 

Despite this, at least fifteen rockets were fired on Israel in a 12-hour period on Saturday, including two at Be'er Sheva; the IAF retaliated with targeted airstrikes

Several ministers and MKs have called for Israel to retake or attack Gaza and institute a "zero tolerance" policy against terrorism over the weekend.

But one top-ranking IDF official told Arutz Sheva Sunday that the IDF is more willing to broker a ceasefire. 

"Even after rounds that included dozens of rockets and missiles the IDF maintains almost maximum restraint, and except for a few isolated attacks the IDF prefers to maintain the truce," the official said.