Attacks in East JerusalemIsraeli PM promises ‘strong’ and ‘solid’ response
“We are ready for any scenario,” Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday after the two Palestinian attacks in the holy city.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday promised a “strong” and “robust” response to “terrorism” after two Palestinian attacks in East Jerusalem, one of which killed seven near a synagogue. “Our response will be strong, quick and precise,” Benjamin Netanyahu said before an emergency meeting of the restricted security cabinet. “We are not looking for escalation but we are ready for any scenario.”
On Friday evening, a 21-year-old Palestinian fired on passers-by near a synagogue in the Neve Yaacov neighborhood, killing seven people before being shot. On Saturday morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israelis in Silwan, a stone’s throw from the Old City walls.
Committed in East Jerusalem, the eastern part occupied and annexed by Israel, this new violence comes against the backdrop of a sudden escalation after the death Thursday of nine Palestinians, including fighters and a sixty-year-old, in an Israeli army raid in Jenin, in West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Israeli forces have been placed on high alert, and the army has announced to reinforce its troops in the West Bank amid growing calls for restraint from abroad . Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday and Tuesday to discuss measures for de-escalation.
Figure of the Israeli right, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power at the end of December with the support of far-right parties and ultra-Orthodox Jewish formations. He promised on Saturday an “accelerated process” of sealing and demolishing the homes of those responsible for anti-Israeli attacks, a policy denounced as collective punishment by human rights NGOs.
Benjamin Netanyahu also said he wanted to propose to the security cabinet a facilitation of obtaining licenses to carry weapons for civilians, and to cut Social Security to “families who support terrorism”. In the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, the assailant, armed with a pistol, wounded a father and his son, a soldier, aged respectively 47 and 23, according to the police and the emergency services, before being injured by passers-by armed, then arrested.
Wave of indignation
Friday’s attack, carried out on the evening of World Holocaust Remembrance Day, sparked outrage in Europe and the United States, as well as condemnation from Arab governments with ties to Israel, such as Egypt, Jordan or the United Arab Emirates. Both attacks were carried out by Palestinians from East Jerusalem and have not been claimed. The identities of the seven who died on Friday have not yet been released by police.
Israeli and Palestinian media have identified the assailant in Neve Yaacov, a Jewish settlement neighborhood, as Khayri Alqam, the subject of much praise on Arabic accounts on social networks. Calling the attack a “particularly heinous” crime, UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned about the escalation of violence”.