Netanyahu to world leaders: I want to see outrage over this massacre
PM says Hamas, Islamic Movement, PA are spreading blood libel against Israel and its Jewish citizens, which fuel the ongoing campaign of violence.
Ynet, Agencies, Hassan Shaalan
“I call on all the leaders of countries in the Western world: I want to see outrage over this massacre. I want to see denunciation,” he said at a press conference in Jerusalem Tuesday night.
Two terrorists wielding meat cleavers, knives and guns arrived at the compound on Harav Shimon Agassi Street, which includes a synagogue and yeshiva (rabbinical seminary), and carried out two attacks in two locations.
While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, Netanyahu said this was not enough.
“We are in the midst of a terror campaign focused on Jerusalem. In the middle of Shacharit, while wrapping in tallit and tefillin, four rabbis were slaughtered, four innocent and pure Jews. The animals who committed this massacre came charged with vast hatred from wide-raging incitment against the Jewish people and its country,” Netanyahu said.
“Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority are spreading countless of libels and lies against the State of Israel. They say the Jews are defiling the Temple Mount. They say we mean to destroy the holy sites there, and that we mean to change the praying arrangements there. It’s all a lie. And these lies have already exacted a very steep price,” he added.
“Yesterday, a bus driver from East Jerusalem committed suicide. The pathological report’s findings, which were released to the public, prove it unequivocally. But this did not prevent those inciting to spread these blood libels that he was murdered by Jews. And this incitement played a part in the shocking massacre this morning.”
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu warned that Israel would “respond harshly” to the attack, calling it a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.”
Security forces inside the synagogue (Photo:Reuters)
Netanyahu’s comments were echoed by Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz who said that “the terrorists wielded axes, but the voice was that of Mahmoud Abbas.”
The scene of the attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
An official Hamas statement said that the attack was a response to the death of bus driver Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, who was found hanged at a Jerusalem bus terminal Sunday night. Police said that he had committed suicide, a statement dismissed by some.
Other Israeli politicians reacted strongly to the attack, also suggesting that Israel’s response would be fierce.
“These are no longer isolated incidents – we are at war,” said Shas leader Aryeh Deri, while Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat urged “the government to allocate all forces and resources; we will not let terror win.”
President Reuven Rivlin said that Israel was “experiencing a coordinated campaign; this isn’t a coincidental sequence of events.” He added that “this hour demands national responsibility and unity, and coping together — both with terrorism and with other challenges that face us.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett also denounced Abbas, saying that he “has declared war on Israel, (and) we must respond accordingly.”
The wounded are evacuated (Photo: Kobi Nachshoni)
But Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino sounded a note of caution in comments from the site of the attack. “We currently have no magic solution for these kinds of attacks,” he said.
“The terrorists will be defeated,” Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said. “I call on citizens not to take the law into their own hands.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warned that the attack should not be connected to the Islamic State, stating that it was a Palestinian attack with a nationalist motive.
Likud MK Danny Danon said that ‘Netanyahu must take charge and re-establish security for the citizens of Jerusalem.’
Meanwhile, Likud MK Miri Regev, who proposed legislation to change the status quo on the Temple Mount – a move vehemently rejected by the Muslim world – told Ynet that, “If this kind of incident had occurred in a mosque, the entire world would be against us.”
MKs from the main Arab parties provided a different point of view. Hadash chairman Mohammad Barakeh, Ibrahim Sarsour of Ra`am-Ta`al, and Jamal Zahalka of Balad, condemned the attack and expressed sorrow for the bloodshed.
They said that the cycle of violence could only end only through negotiation. They stressed that the attack stemmed from lack of hope and of a political horizon, which they saw as Netanyahu’s responsibility.