A day after a Palestinian attack killed a three-month-old Israeli baby and wounded six other people, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has ordered the beefing up of security forces in Jerusalem.
Speaking after meeting police and intelligence chiefs and while further unrest flared in the occupied eastern part of the city, Mr Netanyahu said “united Jerusalem was and will forever remain the eternal capital of Israel. Any attempt to harm its residents will be met with the sharpest response. We will restore quiet and security to Jerusalem.”
Mr Netanyahu blamed the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, for the attack by a young Palestinian from the Silwan neighbourhood who, judging by his Facebook posts, was a supporter of the militant Hamas group.
In April, Mr Abbas reached a deal with Hamas to form a consensus government, triggering an Israeli decision to break off peace negotiations. Mr Netanyahu said: “The attack in Jerusalem is backed by Abu Mazen (Abbas), who glorifies the murderers while hugging the organisation to which the terrorists belong: Hamas.”
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian Authority official, said that Israeli actions, including settlement expansion in Silwan have “enflamed the situation” in Jerusalem. We regret all loss of life,” Mr Erekat said. “At the same time, we reiterate that the Israeli occupation of Palestine remains the main source of violence and instability in the region.”
Meanwhile, Yaakov Peri, the science minister and a former intelligence chief, said that security measures alone would not be enough to bring calm. “The issue of a diplomatic horizon must be dealt with because despair and the absence of hope contribute to attacks,” he told Israel Radio. Mr Peri added that the government should put an end to the settlement expansion in Silwan. “Restraint has to be excercised by our side also,” he said.Reuse content