On the eve of the 13th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin warned against a possibility that extreme right-wing activists would target Israeli leaders.
Speaking during Sunday's cabinet meeting on settler lawlessness, Diskin said that "as the anniversary of the Rabin assassination draws near, the Shin Bet has spotted among right-wing extremists the readiness to use firearms in order to halt political proceedings and harm leaders. The Shin Bet is extremely concerned by this."
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said during the meeting that violent occurrences in the West Bank have increased by 10% since 2007, and that "more minors are involved and the number of indictments and defendants has doubled."
He added that "police have identified an increasing readiness among extremists to lash out against the army and police officers", and said that "the system's ability to deal with these rioters will also affect the settlers' violence against the Palestinian population and the surprising violence directed at the leadership of the Judea and Samaria settlement."
Dichter noted that "the issues of rebellion and incitement are very difficult to impose."
Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni
said during the discussion, "The process of enforcement and punishment must be carried out uncompromisingly and quickly. The message must be clear to all – regardless of anyone's political beliefs.
"Any politician who tries to use this crisis for their own political gains by getting closer to a particular sector, will be harming our ability as a state to deal with this crisis," Livni added
Education Minister Yuli Tamir also warned of another political assassination. "The same group that went wild and caused the Rabin murder may act again. In the current situation, another murder could be carried out by extreme rightists, as it appears that a large part of those people are fanatically pious.
"We must come to operative conclusions, because not only could we face another political murder, but also a murder of an officer or soldier, which puts the State and the Israeli society in an entirely different place.
Tamir, who was attacked
by right-wing activists during a visit to Jerusalem's Mercza Harav yeshiva, said there were three steps to be taken before the next murder occurs.
"We must locate, register and arrest the radical elements, search for weapons in their homes and property, because I fear they may be in possession of arms and may use them to carry out the next murder, and third, change the legislation on incitement."
As for her responsibility as education minister, Tamir said, "We are getting very close to November 4, the day Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered. These issues are being discussed by the education system in a bid to discover what unites the people. We will continue to raise these issues in the classrooms."
Ealier, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
told his ministers he would not accept the violent acts
committed by West Bank settlers.
Speaking at the start of the cabinet meeting, he noted that "there is a not so small group of people who are rebelling and creating anarchy. This is an intolerable phenomenon we have no plans to accept."
One of the issues on the government's agenda was the recent riots by settlers and their acts of harassment against Palestinians and the security forces.
The prime minister and defense minister have demanded in recent days that the defense establishment, police and judicial system take firm measures in order to stop the situation from deteriorating.
"Most of the citizens in the West Bank are law abiding residents, who love the land and the people, and we have a lot of respect and appreciation for them. But there is a group which has gone wild, a group which assaults police officers and other defense officials. We have no plans to accept this and we won't accept this," Olmert said.
"I plan to set up a team of ministers today, which would deal with the judicial system's enforcement of the law. What happens there is that rioters are released before paying the price for their intolerable behavior. This must be stopped and the law must be enforced," the prime minister added.
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
and police, Justice Ministry and defense establishment officials were also expected to brief the minister on the situation.
Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel told Ynet on Sunday, "These inciters and violence instigators are a severe phenomenon which could harm the foundations of Israeli society. Their use of the Jewish religion is a public defamation of God. They are nothing more than false prophets of the worst kind, which have badly hurt Israel in the past.
"I hope the government makes clear and unequivocal decisions to remove this insane minority from the borders of legitimacy in Israel."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
also referred to the Hebron incidents during a Labor
"The phenomena of violating the law by young people in the Judea and Samaria area are a threat to the State and its citizens. A society which wishes to exist cannot accept this and we will fight it with full force," he said.
Communications Minister Ariel Atias of Shas
said before the cabinet meeting, "The issue of harming IDF soldiers is a consensus among the people of Israel. We have one army which must be protected from all directions, and this includes all sectors."
The defense minister told Ynet
on Saturday night that "these riots and public disturbances are extremely grave, and their objective is to undermine the authority of the state and its ability to impose order on its citizens.
"There is an attempt here by a group of extremists to fracture the authority of the state and its representatives in the field, the IDF and the police, born of their pretension to dictate to the state the patterns of behavior seen in Judea and Samaria."
Last week, Barak instructed senior defense officials to increase the use of administrative injunctions against law-breakers in the West Bank, and further ordered the establishment of a committee to monitor settler activity.