'The West Gives Legitimacy to Terror Against Jews'

Minister Steinitz, together with Foreign Ministry director, warn the press that Abbas's incitement 'paves the way for bloodshed, not peace.'

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 3:00 PM

Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Uri Lantz/Flash 90

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a member of the Security Cabinet and close confidante of the prime minister, held a briefing at the Government Press Office in Jerusalem on Wednesday to provide an update on the recent surge of Arab terrorism plaguing the Jewish state.

Along with Steinitz, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dr. Dore Gold also spoke at the briefing, as did Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesperson to the Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, who gave a statement in Arabic.

Due to the fact that Steinitz had to be at the Knesset for a vote, Gold spoke first.

"The current escalation of both terrorism and violence leaves many people with a kind of fundamental question: why is this happening?," posed Gold.

"If you look in Jeruaslem and you try and find motivation," he said, a recent research poll has shown that "a plurality of the Palestinian population living in eastern Jerusalem would prefer to live under Israeli rule."

Citing this fact, he argued that "it isn't that people are seeking some significant change in political arrangement."

Between the years 2003 and 2006, he noted that Israel erected a security fence in the capital, and "one striking feature of the period was that 70,000 Palestinians left what would become the side of the fence that included most of the Palestinian population and moved to the Israeli side of the fence."

Clarifying that the fence was not a designation of sovereignty, he noted that Arab residents preferred to live under Israeli rule.

Having established that Arab anger at Israeli rule was not an argument to explain the attacks, he asked, "what sends young people out with butcher knives to attack Israelis?"

"PA is calling for violence"

"It emanates from incitement, and particularly religious incitement, false accusations that Israel seeks to the change status quo on the Temple Mount," explained Dore.

This incitement "began with the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, also includes Hamas, and unfortunately the Palestinian Authority has taken part in the spread of this false story, and in the spread of incitement to violence which we are witnessing."

Israel has called on Palestinian Authority (PA) to fight incitement, added Gold, noting that on Tuesday night the Security Cabinet passed several measures "consistent with the goal of the government to stabilize the situation."

"These are legitimate instruments of a democracy seeking to defend itself using proportionality, using restrained measures, and of course not changing the status quo in any way in the area of the Temple Mount," he said.

Gold then gave several examples of incitement from the PA, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's statement last month praising the spilling of blood in Jerusalem to stop Jews from visiting the Temple Mount "with their filthy feet."

"The messages about undermining the Al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Temple Mount - ed.), the messages about Israel engaging in executions of Palestinians and not acts of self-defense, only heighten the flames of rage and violence that we're facing," he added.

"Incitement lays at the source of the current escalation," concluded the Foreign Ministry director.

"Abbas paves the way for bloodshed

Steinitz then took the podium, saying the terror attacks are accompanied with "itbach el yahud," meaning "slaughter the Jew" in Arabic. He stated that this fact points to the fact that the terror is being conducted "in the name of Islam."

"This time it's totally clear that the main approach here is a religious approach," said the minister, noting that the propaganda fed to Palestinian Arabs calls to "defend Islam against the enemy of Israel, against the Jews."

Citing the quote "we bless every drop of blood spilled for Allah," Steinitz emphasized that the line was not said by Islamic State (ISIS) or any other jihadist group, but rather by the "so-called legitimate peace seeking president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas."

"It's all about horrible anti-Jewish racist incitement," he said. Speaking about the stabbing in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev on Monday in which 13-year-olds took knives to try and murder another 13-year-old boy, he said, "this is about hatred, this is about indoctrination."

This incitement takes place "on a daily basis by the Palestinian Authority education system, government controlled TV, children's programs and so on and so forth."

"This kind of incitement is not paving the way for peace but for bloodshed," he emphasized. "This is the main obstacle to peace."

"Palestinian kids are being fed with this incitement like mother's milk from the age of two, three, four years old." He added that Abbas cannot present himself a peace seeking leader if he "blesses every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem, spilled for Allah."

"Double standards on terror"

Addressing the foreign media present, an impassioned minister Steinitz said, "Israelis cannot understand" why it is that "when Islamic zealots are killing Christians or other people in Paris in the name of Allah, shouting allahu akbar ('Allah is greater')," there is strong condemnation, but the same doesn't hold true in Israel.

Citing attacks in London, Paris, and the Boston marathon attacks, he noted that in these cases the terrorists were "killing in the name of Allah, when they are murdering Americans or Europeans, this is always a barbaric action of terror" in the media.

"When recently terrorists, unidentified yet but probably Islamic terrorists, killed 100 Turks in Ankara, this is described by the media as an act of terror, and rightly so." He went on to enumerate the murder of Yazidis, Kurds and moderate Muslims in Iraq, all of which is labeled a "barbaric act of terror."

However, "when Jews are stabbed and killed or injured in Israel, and in all cases the terrorist shouted allahu akbar...exactly the same slogan, suddenly it's not terrorism anymore" in the world media's eyes.

"Killing the Jews, especially here in Israel, this is different," he posed incredulously.

Steinitz noted that various means of justification have been given to the terrorism in Israel, calling it "violence," or saying that it "has to do with frustration."

"Some media, I saw it myself, said the Israeli police killed a 16-year-old boy after two stabbings in Jerusalem, not mentioning he did the stabbings."

"Terrorism is terrorism, killing Jews because they are Jews is exactly like killing Christians or Kurds or Yazidis because they are the enemies of Allah," stressed Steinitz, calling the double standard "outrageous."

"It seems some in the West...give some kind of legitimacy," he added, noting that reasons can be given for any terrorist attack, in Europe and elsewhere as well.

The Jewish people have suffered from "enough discrimination and double standards" in the 2,000-year-long exile," emphasized Steinitz.

"Al-Aqsa conspiracies are nothing new"

Steinitz went on to say the incitement regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque "is not new." He noted that back in 1921 before the establishment of Israel, the grand mufti of Jerusalem in a speech blamed Jews for an alleged attempt to destroy the Mosque.

"The result was riots, in which several dozens Jewish citizens of Jerusalem were massacred."

The minister stated that "this conspiracy about the Jews trying to destroy the mosques is not new, but they're recycling and reusing it."

"We are committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount, we are not the ones destroying religious sites," he emphasized, noting that Islamic zealots are destroying holy sites throughout the Middle East.

Given the claims that the Jews are trying to destroy the Al-Aqs Mosque, he said sarcastically, "surprisingly we didn't manage (to destroy the Mosque - ed.), but we are trying to do it for 100 years."

Steinitz's speech was followed by a statement in Arabic by Gendelman, and afterwards a question-and-answer session for the press.

The briefing comes a day after two Arab terror attacks struck Jerusalem on Tuesday, leaving three Jews murdered and as many as 17 others wounded.

In recent weeks Arab terrorism has been spiraling out of control, with numerous stabbing and shootings being committed in addition to the constant scourge of rock and firebomb attacks.