Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday evening that the arrests of the 14 terrorists who were behind the bombing of a Bat Yam bus is proof that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is directly involved in planning and carrying out terror attacks.
One of the terrorists was a member of the PA security forces. The other detainees were members of the Islamic Jihad and Bedouin Arabs.
"This is further evidence of the PA’s direct involvement in terrorism. It’s time that [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas stop celebrating with freed murderers and lead his people to the path of peace," said Netanyahu.
The Prime Minister praised the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the IDF and the Israel Police for their quick work in nabbing the terrorists. Some of the terrorists were caught hours after the attack, but a gag order on the details of the investigation was only lifted on Thursday evening.
Netanyahu’s comments were the second time in one day that he criticized Abbas for his support of terrorism. Earlier on Thursday, during a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu said that “given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.”
“A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes,” Netanyahu told Kerry, referring to the PA’s celebration late Monday night over Israel’s release of convicted terrorists.
“To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage,” he added. “How can President Abbas say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists.”
The Prime Minister added that he was “wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women, axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets. What’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-à-vis Israelis and vis-à-vis the State of Israel?”
Netanyahu told Kerry that it is “not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case, I stress at least in one case, those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.”
“In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the State of Israel,” he pointed out. “This Palestinian government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media, the Government-controlled media, in the schools, in text books, in kindergartens. You see it in every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel.”
Netanyahu previously slammed the PA over its celebration with the released terrorists on Tuesday, a day after the celebration took place.
“While we are willing to take extremely painful steps with the goal of reaching an agreement that will put an end to the conflict, they, along with their most senior leaders, are celebrating,” he said.
The PA’s celebration sends a terrible message, he continued. “Murderers are not heroes. This is not how you educate people to peace. This is not how you make peace,” he warned.