Israeli leaders spar over how to combat wave of terror

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chaired a security cabinet meeting last night, but faced criticism from both inside and outside his coalition over how best to tackle the spate of terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Following several weeks of high tension, two Israelis were shot dead in the West Bank on Thursday and two others were stabbed to death in Jerusalem’s Old City over the weekend. Meanwhile, widespread clashes took place yesterday between IDF forces and Palestinians, resulting in the deaths of two Palestinians.

Israel’s security cabinet resolved last night to take several measures to combat the violence. They include further troop reinforcements and the destruction of the homes of terrorists, as a deterrent to future would-be attackers. This morning, two homes were destroyed in accordance with the directive. Meretz leader Zahava Galon called the policy of home destructions “stupid … unjust, unethical” and “ineffective in preventing terror.”

On Sunday, Zionist Union activists protested outside Netanyahu’s home after party leader Isaac Herzog accused the prime minister of lacking a viable plan for “fighting a war against terror.” At the event, Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit said that Netanyahu has “isolated Israel internationally” and “now cannot stop the terror.”

Meanwhile, several thousand right-wing protestors gathered outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem last night, to demand tougher action against terror. The demonstration was attended by three of Netanyahu’s own Likud ministers, Haim Katz, Ze’ev Elkin and Yariv Levin. Meanwhile, Jewish Home’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Channel Two that the government is not doing enough to combat terrorism.

Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman called for a variety of measures to be taken, including a halt of Israeli money transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which he said is not a partner for peace. Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the “cycle of violence,” but apparently ordered PA security forces to help urgently quell the violence.

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