Israeli authorities vow to tackle Jewish terrorism
Israel is facing a rising wave of domestic terrorism, the chiefs of several of the country’s security services have warned. The assessment followed a recent series of violent attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
In a joint statement on Saturday, military, police and domestic security service heads branded the settlers’ actions nothing short of “nationalist terrorism” and vowed to crack down on it.
They announced plans to ramp up military presence in the affected settlements, while the Shin Bet domestic security service is set to go after troublemakers, subjecting them to ‘administrative detention,’ the statement warned. This measure, which is typically reserved for Palestinians, involves holding suspects in custody without charges indefinitely.
On several occasions over the past week, Jewish settlers staged rampages on several Palestinian towns and villages. One such attack on Saturday saw the assailants set fire to at least two homes in the central West Bank Palestinian village of Umm Safa, according to local residents. In the town of Turmus Ayya, dozens of households and cars were reportedly burned as well.
According to media reports, at least some of the settlers were armed, with their actions and the subsequent involvement of the Israeli military leaving as many as ten Palestinians injured.
Commenting on the violent scenes, the US, which has for decades been a staunch ally of Israel, expressed concern, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaking with his Israeli counterpart by phone.
The tough statement issued by Israeli security officials has, however, attracted criticism from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government coalition.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich claimed that the “attempt to equate murderous Arab terrorism with civilian counter actions… is immoral and dangerous.”
He urged security services to go after Palestinians more vigorously. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir went so far as to call on settlers to further expand their presence in the West Bank.