The government has decided to install cameras throughout the West Bank in order to combat the rising surge of terrorism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, a day after a large protest decried the government's handling of the violence.
"We decided today to enact a major plan to employ cameras at all junctions in the West Bank, both on the ground and in the air, with connections to operations room," said Netanyahu at the end of a tour in the restive area and a visit to the scene of the recent terrorist attack near Itamar. "This is an important element of restoring security and foiling terror attacks."
Netanyahu's statement may have been meant to provide a veiled response to the government ministers who had criticized his handling of the current violence. "There is no question here regarding our support for the military, and everyone knows the truth, in contrast to those who claim otherwise. There is a certain level of responsibility required from the settlers, and they should be accurate in their claims."
The prime minister said he had also directed security forces to "deal with" vendors who were in the area when Adele Lavi was stabbed on Saturday. After the terror attack that killed her husband and wounded her and their infant son, Adele said she had cried for help after being stabbed, but people refused to help her and even mocked her. "I asked that their stores be shuttered and that they be brought to justice," Netanyahu said of these allegations.
"The greatest center of incitement in recent years is the Islamic Movement, and we will take care of them, too," continued the prime minister. We will break this wave of terror like we broke previous waves of terror. We are in ongoing contact with all out neighbors and are trying to make the facts clear despite the wave of falsehoods that he been disseminated – we have no intention of changing the status quo at the Temple Mount and have no intention of destroying mosques or building a Third Temple there.
"We have ongoing contact with the Egyptians, the Jordanians and many others," added Netanyahu. "I am not willing to tolerate Israeli citizens joining in the incitement. I cannot tolerate spitting on police or waving PLO and Hamas flags at stadiums – not by Jews and not by Muslims, and I have directed the attorney general to act against the agitators among us."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, for his part, emphasized that authorities usually manage to stop terrorists before they commit attacks.
"I recommend that local council heads stop hyperventilating," said the minister. "There's a difference between the situation during Operation Defensive Shield (the 2002 military operation in the West Bank attempting to put a halt to terror attacks in the Second Intifada) and that today, and since then the IDF has been on the offensive in the West Bank. These statements cause citizens to take the law into their hands. This is an unacceptable phenomenon, which sabotages our struggle against Jewish terror and adds fuel to the fire. Ministers must remember that the government has collective responsibility."
Ya'alon's warning was likely directed at several politicians who have been criticizing the government, including a number who spoke in Ynet's studio on Tuesday. "Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government in a special panel on Ynet, saying ,"He keeps repeating the same mantras and declarations. The only thing that has changed is the pitch of his voice.”
Liberman continued to say that, “This is a government of weaklings which doesn’t make real decisions. We need to terminate the terror leadership in Gaza."
Chairman of the opposition Isaac Herzog echoed Lieberman's sentiment, saying: "Think about it, what would Netanyahu do to me if I were prime minister?"
Even the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, attacked Netanyahu and the government's actions, labeling the recent Security Cabinet decisions "aspirin for a terminally ill patient."
Liberman termed Netanyahu's declarations “cosmetic,” and placed the responsibility for the current wave of terror –squarely on Hamas's shoulders. "We haven’t touched the command structure in Gaza. It is seemingly immune. There is no alternative to decimating the terror leadership in Gaza," Liberman said.
According to him, terror can be defeated, but the problem lay within the government. “We have a government of weaklings who cannot make concrete decisions," Lieberman said, while clarifying that his party would not join the current government.
"The chances that my party will join the current government are nonexistent," said Lieberman. "We support and call for elections as soon as possible. The government has failed in its fight against terror, and the problems facing Israel’s economy. It’s clear to me that elections will be held in 2016."
Dagan said that the cabinet's decisions were on the right path, during the ynet panel, however clarified that they were not satisfactory. "I respect the prime minister. He is under international pressure, but what we have here is a case of succumbing to international guidelines, and a failure to act within the government.”
Dagan continued to say that the government "is satisfied by quick fixes in place of institutional change. I expected to receive a call from the government secretary which would promote the establish of a settlement on the road were the murders took place, in the wake of last week's terrorist attack. Even if the prime minister doesn’t want to allow for the building of new communities, Itamar has had an expansion plan in place for years."
Dagan added that "the current method has not changed; the prime minister doesn’t want change. The roads are abandoned and the army jeeps continue to get pelted. I refuse to leave this plastic chair in front of the prime minister’s residence until this changes."
Opposition chief Isaac Herzog declared that Netanyahu failed what he called "the outcome test", and called on him to read the writing on the wall: "He needs to resign and call new elections," said Herzog. "Netanyahu and our government have failed miserably on the matter of personal security. They fail repeatedly and lie to the public."
Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), who was present at a protest rally on Monday night organized by Samaria Regional Council outside the Prime Minister's Residence, said Tuesday morning: "When you hear the head of the opposition saying what he said, you realize that this government is the only option. The public present at the protest made no attempt to say the government must be replaced."
Levin attacked the legal system in Israel and called for change. "We are suffering from intolerable over-legislation in Israel," he said. "Legal counsels have become decision makers instead of the government. This unacceptable situation contributes to terrorism."