FM condemns settler violence, however, won't call it terror

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says settler violence against Palestinian villages won't be tolerated, and perpetrators must face justice, but it is impossible to compare burning cars and the murder of people just because they are Jews

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen condemned the violence between West Bank Jewish settlers and Palestinians near the village of Umm Safa, north of Ramallah, which took place over the weekend.
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In an interview Sunday with Ynet studio, Cohen stated, "We will not tolerate violence and taking the law into one's own hands, and those who do so must face justice."
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Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and settler violence
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and settler violence
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and settler violence
(Photo: Reuters)
However, Cohen repeatedly evaded the question of whether it was terrorism, as defined by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar and Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai.
"This is an unacceptable action, and it must be stopped. But it is impossible to compare between burning cars, which should not happen, and the murder of people just because they are Jews," Cohen said.
The minister made it clear that he "expects the international community to take action against the Palestinian Authority, which provides incentives for the murder of Jews."
According to Cohen, "the more Jews they kill the greater the incentives are." He also addressed the fact that settlers set fire to homes and vehicles in Turmus Ayya following a shooting attack in which four Israelis were killed. He said that "the State of Israel has proven that it holds accountable anyone who spills Jewish blood, but it is the IDF and the security forces who will seek retribution."
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בנימין נתניהו, מוחמד בן סלמאן
בנימין נתניהו, מוחמד בן סלמאן
(Photo: Reuters, Hadar Yoavian)
Cohen also addressed the normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia in light of the security tensions in the West Bank. "The Saudis are less sensitive to the Palestinian issue, and what interests them primarily is a defense against Iran," he said, adding" "I estimate that normalization will happen, we have a time frame until March, during which they will already enter the election system in the United States."
"There is a mutual interest for Saudi Arabia and Israel to reach an agreement in order to combat the Iranian threat, increase regional stability, and engage in diplomatic and economic cooperation," Cohen further stated. "I hope that we will be able to sign normalization with Sudan soon as well. Everything has already been agreed upon, but due to the civil war that erupted there, it has not happened."
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