JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Arab citizens of Israel to shun “propaganda and incitement” and to “respect the law.”
“Do not be swept away by propaganda and incitement. Don’t be swept away by an inflamed minority. You are citizens with equal rights and equal obligations, and the first obligation of any citizen is to respect the law,” Netanyahu said Tuesday night at the end of a several-hours-long Security Cabinet meeting.
The meeting was called in the face of riots and unrest in the Arab sector, as well as terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in the center of the country and in the West Bank.
“We are in the midst of a campaign of incitement and terrorism directed against the State of Israel and its citizens. This campaign has continued since the foundation of the state and even before then. We have defeated terrorism until today and we will defeat it this time as well,” Netanyahu said.
“We are determined to take all possible action against incitement and escalation; we will take vigorous action against the terrorists,” he added, saying that he had ordered new steps to combat the rioting and terror including the demolition of terrorists’ homes; more severe punishment for throwing stones and firebombs; and fines for parents of children throwing rocks, among other measures.
He said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “is not a partner in this effort” to reduce tension and violence. Instead of calming the situation he is inflaming it. “Instead of speaking the truth, he is disseminating lies to the effect that we intend, or are operating in some way, to change the status of the holy places – this is a gross lie,” Netanyahu charged.