PM Bennett
PM BennettIsrael National News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded Tuesday afternoon to the comments of Public Security Minister Omer Barlev (Labor), who said yesterday that he discussed the issue of "settler violence" with US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

"The settlers in Judea and Samaria have been suffering from violence and terrorism, every day, for decades. They are the defensive wall of us all and we must strengthen them and support them, in words and deeds," Bennett wrote on Twitter.

He added, "There are marginal phenomena in every public, they should be dealt with by all means, but we must not generalize an entire public."

Barlev has faced significant criticism following his meeting with Nuland, but is unmoved.

"I understand that it is really difficult for some of you who put a mirror in front of your face that extremist settler violence crosses the world and foreign governments are interested in the issue. I recommend those who have a hard time drink a glass of water. I will continue to fight Palestinian terrorism as if there is no extremist settler violence - and by extremist settler violence as if there is no Palestinian terrorism," Barlev tweeted this morning.

Communications Minister Yoaz Handel said in an interview with Radio Tzafon (radio north) that "Omer's words show a cultural decline."

"The settlers in Judea and Samaria are law-abiding citizens, serving in the army and taking part in defending the homeland. Not just because my family is from there. There are phenomena in the margins that need to be fought but it is in the margins. This is the core of our policy both internally and externally. I have met enough foreign representatives from Washington and other states. We cannot allow the existence of such a discourse in which a false narrative replaces reality and is made the primary focus. I am in favor of law and order for everyone. There are no discounts for anyone, but for that we need to be focused," he said.

Commenting on the meeting on his Twitter account last night, Barlev said that the senior US official was "interested, among other things, in the settler violence and how to reduce tensions in the region and strengthen the Palestinian Authority."

Barlev wrote, "I told her that increasing the work permits for Palestinians in Israel, both from Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which we are already carrying out, is a key to reducing tensions, just like implementing the plan to establish a joint industrial zone on the outskirts of Gaza and more. American assistance for such projects can help a lot."