Multiple Israeli officials on Wednesday condemned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for what they charged was his direct and indirect incitement leading to a string of terror attacks, including today’s lethal vehicular assault in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the terror attack “…the direct outcome of incitement by Abbas, and his Hamas partners.”
A Hamas member used a van to mow down pedestrians at two points along the capital’s light rail line midday Wednesday, killing one and wounding some 14 others, several critically. The fatality, Cap. Jidan Assad, 38, a Border Police officer from the Druze village of Beit Jaan, and the wounded were crossing the street when they were hit by the speeding vehicle, according to police. Assad is survived by a pregnant wife and a three-year-old son, according to Ynet News.
Abbas, in a condolence letter to the family of a Hamas terrorist who shot and severely wounded an Israeli-American last Wednesday, called the return fire by police which killed Muataz Hijazi a “sickening crime,” and “assassination which was perpetrated by the murderous, terrorist gangs of the despicable Israeli occupying army…”
Netanyahu, who was speaking at a memorial ceremony for the 19th anniversary of the killing of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said, “We are in the midst of a struggle for Jerusalem and I have no doubt that we will triumph. We are deploying all the forces that we can. It could be a prolonged struggle and we need to unite the entire nation behind it.”
The PM is to convene a special meeting with officials Wednesday night to weigh further moves to beef up security in Jerusalem.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni slammed Abbas’ letter as “not only risible but also dangerous.
“You can’t on the one hand go round saying you condemn violence and on the other hand send letters encouraging it,” Livni chided, adding that the condolence note “could lead [Abbas] to lose control” of Palestinian anger in Jerusalem, “and the responsibility for that would also fall on Abbas.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon charged that “The inciting rhetoric of Mahmoud Abbas – who on the one hand disseminates hate speech and lies against the State of Israel, on the other hand praises Palestinian terrorists who attack Jews – is responsible for the bloodshed in Jerusalem.”
Yaalon said Abbas “has not changed and will not change and will continue to blacken the face of the State of Israel and to incite against it to the Palestinian population and preach hate around the world,” adding that “Mahmoud Abbas is accepted around the world as a moderate, but does not promote a culture of peace [at home], and is not really interested coexistence with the Jewish state.”
In an appeal to his counterparts worldwide, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman noted “that the incitement by the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, and particularly the letter of condolence and encouragement to the terrorist who shot Rabbi Yehuda Glick last week, are at the root of the terror attack which took place today in Jerusalem.”
“The international community cannot remain silent in the face of Palestinian President Abbas’ letter to the family of the terrorist who shot Yehuda Glick. A leadership such as that of the Palestinian Authority which glorifies and encourages terrorism creates a ‘terrorocracy’ that can lead only to increased conflict and bloodshed,” Lieberman said.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said in comment, “We will fight this wave of terror with all our force, and those behind the attacks need to know that we will find them and bring them to justice. I call upon Abu Mazen [Abbas' nom de guerre] to condemn these attacks, to end the incitement and to work to lower the flames in Jerusalem. Those who murder innocent civilians in cold blood dishonor the streets of the Holy City, they are terrorists and we will not let them drag us all down with them.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said “Mahmoud Abbas is the driver of the death-car in Jerusalem, and the terrorists are just his messengers. Israel needs to say clearly that the Hamas-Fatah government is a ‘terror authority’ and it must be dealt with accordingly.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz called Abbas “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.”
“The terrible attack in Jerusalem is a result of the same two-facedness. We need to respond to the attack just as we did against [the late PLO chairman Yasser] Arafat — to expose the dark side of Abbas to the whole world,” Steinitz said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said shortly after the attack, “This is a hard day in Jerusalem, and on behalf of the residents of the city, I grieve for the victim’s family, and wish the injured speedy recovery.
“The Israeli government must get tough to win the war against terrorism and riots.
“I have an important message to the city’s residents: not to forget the terrorists’ intention to disrupt our lives, to hurt and scare us. The only answer is to return the city to normal and continue our daily routine – that is the message the terrorists. We are here and not budging from here.
“We will enforce a tougher policy, and win this war,” Barkat said.
President Reuven Rivlin expressed “heartfelt pain and utter disgust” at the terror attack. “There can be no absolution for those who turn cars into weapons to attack innocent civilians at bus and train stations.
“Those who will be harmed more than any, will be the terrorists, and those who incite and support them,” Rivlin said.
“We will not cease to build across Jerusalem, to impose law and order, by virtue of our sovereignty,” Rivlin said at the Rabin commemoration.