Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday evening, following a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem that saw a 3-month-old baby killed.
President Reuven Rivlin also commented on the attack, saying “At such difficult times, our hearts are with the bereaved family and we pray for a quick and complete recovery of the wounded.”
"This is how Abu Mazen (Abbas') partners in government work," Netanyau said, referring to the Palestinian unity government comprising Hamas and Fatah that Israel has consistenly opposed. "This is the same Abbas that only a few days ago called for harming Jews in Jerusalem."
Netanyahu – who called the Palestinian president by his Arabic nickname – referenced comments by Abbas about mounting religious tensions between Jews and Arabs at the flashpoint Temple Mount site.
"This is how Abu Mazen (Abbas') partners in government work. This is the same Abbas that only a few days ago called for harming Jews in Jerusalem."
Abbas said Jews should be prevented from entering the site "by any means," adding that "this is our Noble Sanctuary... they have no right to enter and desecrate it."
Abbas made the comments following clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli forces over what Palestinians see as Jewish encroachment on the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
President Rivlin echoed the claims, saying that the “atrocious murder of an innocent baby girl, a victim of indiscriminate terrorism, should disgust all those who have a heart.
“The increasing incitement on the Arab streets and the streets of Jerusalem, which unfortunately receives the backing of leaders in the Arab world, has the ability to destroy the delicate balance of life in Jerusalem, and carry us all into a maelstrom of destruction and pain.
"At such difficult times, our hearts are with the bereaved family and we pray for a quick and complete recovery of the wounded.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also commented on the attack, saying that "the situation in Jerusalem has become unbearable and we must act unequivocally to end all violence in the capital."
Barkat urged the police to take action, saying "today it is clearer than ever that police forces should enter the Arab neighbors where disorder is rife."
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett also commented on the deadly terror attack, saying "the Israeli government has failed as far as security is concerned in Jerusalem. What happened today is a continuation of hundreds of terror attacks in recent months, which went unanswered."
"Whoever is afraid to build in Jerusalem, whoever shows restrain in face of stone throwing in the capital, and whoever allows train stations and gas stations to be set ablaze is telling the world they have given up sovereignty over Jerusalem – and if there is no sovereignty then there is no security, the time has come to get a grips," the minister said.
A 3-month-old baby girl was killed and seven other people were wounded Wednesday evening when a Palestinian plowed his car into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill station of Jerusalem's Light Rail.
The driver - a resident of the village of Silwad with a record of security related offenses - attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was shot by police. He sustained chest wounds and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the car struck the train station near the national headquarters of the police force.
He said police were investigating but all signs pointed to an intentional attack. "There is a strong possibility that it was a terror attack," he said.
Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, who arrived at the scene, also said that, "all signs indicate this is a terror attack." He further said that the driver had served time in prison before. He praised the police for their quick response.
"This is not an intifada," Aharonovich said, noting that he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that the police and the Shin Bet internal security service were investigating.