Israel’s leaders conveyed a message of resilience in the face of Wednesday’s deadly attack, and called for forceful measures and further action.
Israel’s leaders responded with rage, disgust and shock to the vicious terror attack carried out on Wednesday in Jerusalem when a Hamas terrorist plowed his car into a crowd of civilians at a tram station, killing Chaya Zissel Braun, a three-month-old baby, and wounding six others. Security forces shot the terrorist as he tried to flee the scene, who subsequently died of his wounds.
President Reuven Rivlin responded to the terrorist attack and eulogized the infant:
“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.”
Rivlin further stressed that Israel’s message should be clear: “There is no force that can distance us from Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.”
PA Propaganda Incites Terrorist Attacks
Speaking in Washington, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon placed the blame for the attack on the Palestinian Authority (PA). He said the terrorist attack resulted from the PA’s distorted education and incitement propaganda against the Jewish State:
“The attack in Jerusalem is an explicit result of those who educate the next generation in the PA to hate Jews and expel them from their homeland. There is, and never was, a culture of peace in the PA, but rather there is a culture of incitement to Jihad against the Jews. It begins with fallacious statements made by Abu Mazen against Israel from the UN podium, through repetitive Palestinian efforts to de-legitimize us at various international forums, and concludes with incitement in the Palestinian education system, and this is the harsh outcome.”
Ya’alon stressed again that the root of the conflict is not territorial, but rather that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a special security consultation Wednesday night following the terror attack. Top Israeli security officials updated Netanyahu on the details of the vehicular terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Netanyahu called for additional security forces in Jerusalem. “This is how Abu Mazen’s partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited toward a terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said, relating to the terrorist who was a member of Hamas, the Palestinian faction currently running a unity government with Abbas’s PLO.
Stronger Security Measures to Maintain Peace
Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat called for more stringent security measures in Jerusalem:
“We must restore peace and security in Jerusalem… Today, more than ever, it is clear that we must send police forces into neighborhoods where there are disturbances, placing them strategically and widely in significant numbers.”
Netanyahu agreed with Barkat’s requests and instructed the Mayor to reinforce the police presence in the capital while implementing an action plan to prevent riots. Additional personnel and special units were deployed and intelligence efforts increased. Barkat concluded by saying, “I will continue to be vigilant and we will not rest until security is restored in Jerusalem.”
Washington Calls For Restraint on Both Sides
The US State Department condemned the attack, but chose to call on “all sides” to restrain themselves. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”
Many Israelis wonder what “sides” Psaki was relating to? Would Washington restrain itself and not use all the measures at its disposal to protect the American people and prevent Hamas from killing babies?
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel