Israeli politician calls Palestinian residents 'animals' following deadly Jerusalem terror attack

'We keep giving candy and more candy to people who constantly want to annihilate us. It’s over'

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The Independent Online

The deputy mayor of Jerusalem has criticised Palestinian residents for behaving like “animals” after a deadly terror attack in the east of the city.

Meir Turgeman claimed he would “punish” those responsible for the drive-by shooting in which two bystanders were killed, and announced the cancellation of all construction plans in Arab neighbourhoods of the capital as a result. 

“We have reached the moment of truth. Let’s put all the cards on the table. The people in East Jerusalem want to kill us and destroy us. Why do we need to give them a new chance every day?”, he told Radio Jerusalem during a heated interview.

“Each time we lived in false hope that these people, if we would help them, would change their animal behavior, but it turns out that nothing helps.

“Why do people need to die in Jerusalem? Where is it written, and who said it? We have to take responsibility here. 

“And I am going to give an example. I took all the construction plans related to East Jerusalem off the agenda. I shelved all of the plans. They say carrots and sticks. There are no carrots left, only sticks.

“We keep giving candy and more candy and more candy to people who constantly want to annihilate us. It’s over. I am taking responsibility, and anyone who doesn’t like it can fire me.”

The office of Jerusalem mayor Nir Bakat played down Mr Turgeman’s plans to halt construction, saying they “did not reflect municipal policy”, and promised to “serve the residents interested in obeying the law” rather than punishing them for the crimes of terrorists.

However, Mr Turgeman also vowed to deal with the families harbouring terrorists with a “heavy hand” by putting them “on a bus to Gaza”.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military said it sealed the crossings in and out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a security precaution for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day, which ends on Wednesday evening. 

The current wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence began just over a year ago, and in that time, 36 Israelis and two visiting Americans have been killed in Palestinian attacks. During the same time, about 219 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Israel says most of those killed were attackers, though Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive violence. 

Israel has blamed the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders, compounded on social media sites. The Palestinians say it is rooted in some 50 years of military occupation and fading hopes for independence. 

Hamas, who govern the Gaza Strip, welcomed the latest shooting attack as a "heroic act" and "natural response" to Israeli oppression, according to local reports.

Associated Press contributed to this report.