Netanyahu Draws Line Between “Arab” and “Jewish” Terror

Tel Aviv, Israel (IMEMC) – Following the recent increase in Jewish extremism, Israel’s Prime Minister on Sunday said that comparing “Arab terror and Jewish terror” was impossible, Israeli media reported.

During the weekly cabinet meeting, Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Here [in Israel] we condemn and they [the Palestinians] praise,” Israeli dailyHaaretz has reported.

The PM said that “Jewish terror” was rare, while “Arab terror” frequently took place on a large scale.

Netanyahu stated, according to Ma’an, that while Israeli leadership condemned terror attacks carried out by “extremist” Jews, he claimed that the Palestinian Authority “encourages terror and incites.”

The statement comes in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the murder of three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family by Jewish extremists, and the release of all of the suspects from custody.

This past week, video footage was released from an Israeli wedding party celebrating the burning alive of the Palestinian family, including the family’s 18-month old baby.

The growing influence of Israeli extremist groups comes in the midst of a wave of violence that has left nearly 140 Palestinians and 18 Israelis dead since Oct. 1.

While condemning the attacks, a UN official earlier this month said: “The injustices associated with an occupation which shows no prospect of ending feed into a perspective — particularly among the youth — that they have nothing to lose by sacrificing their lives.”

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, on Saturday said that recent cases of Jewish extremism had caused politicians to ignore “seemingly less serious” offenses against Palestinians and their property, in effect supporting the perpetrators, according to Haaretz.

Focus on the cases have put other offenses on the back burner, Ya’alon said, including the uprooting of Palestinian olive trees and the burning of Palestinian property by Israeli settlers.

Image Source: thierry ehrmann, Flickr, Creative Commons Benyamin Netanyahu, painted portrait DDC_1558

Image Source: thierry ehrmann, Flickr, Creative Commons
Benyamin Netanyahu, painted portrait DDC_1558

The minister said that encouragement from ministers and members ofKnesset for settlement expansion as well as verbal attacks on public figures helped to enable incidents like the Dawabsha murder and incitement, Haaretz reported.

Israel has received criticism from the international community and rights groups in the past regarding government policies that encourage violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

Israeli police earlier this week opened an investigation into the wedding of two right-wing Israelis after a video showed attendees dancing and singing songs about revenge while waving knives and guns in the air.

At one point during the ceremony, a masked Israeli youth waves a firebomb while another stabs a photo of Ali Dawabsha, an 18-month-old Palestinian burned alive in the arson attack that also left his parents dead.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the time that the video showed “the real face of a group that poses danger to Israeli society and security,” the daily said.

The suspects in the Dawabsha murder case have yet to be convicted, and Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet has received push-back from right-wing groups over its conduct in the investigation.

The Shin Bet last week warned that the case revealed the growing threat of Jewish terror organizations against the Israeli state as well as regional security.

Israeli settlers regularly carry out attacks on Palestinians and their property. The attacks — over 324 of which were carried out in 2014 according to UN documentation — were labeled as “acts of terrorism” by the US government in 2013.

This report prepared by IMEMC.