We are in the midst of a terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem. The world sees this slaughter but, to our regret, does not demand that the Palestinians stop the wild incitement against Israel that is the root of the conflict.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Tuesday, 18 November), at his Jerusalem office, issued the following statement to the media:
"We are in the midst of a terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem. Today, during morning prayers, as they were wrapped in prayer shawls and tefillin [phylacteries], four rabbis were slaughtered, four innocent and pure Jews – Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Rabbi Moshe Twersky. May their memories be blessed.
We send our condolences to their families. We send our best wishes for a recovery to the wounded and to the heroic policemen whose action prevented a greater disaster.
The human animals who perpetrated this slaughter were full of hatred and incitement, deep hatred and terrible incitement against the Jewish people and its state. Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority are disseminating countless lies and falsehoods against the State of Israel. They are saying that the Jews are contaminating the Temple Mount. They are saying that we are planning to destroy the Holy Places, that we intend to change the order of prayer there – this is all lies.
These lies have already claimed a very heavy price. They took the life of a three-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, who had been taken for her first visit to the Western Wall, along with her parents, who wanted to thank God for giving them a baby. They also claimed the lives of Karen Jemima Mosquera, Jidan Assad, Aharon Badani, Sgt. Almog Shilony and Dalia Lemkus. All of them were pure souls. All of them were victims of this mendacious incitement. Today they are joined by additional victims of the same wild blood libel of the kind that is etched in the memory of our people.
Yesterday a bus driver from eastern Jerusalem committed suicide. He committed suicide. The findings of the pathology report have been published and they prove this unequivocally. He committed suicide. But this has not prevented those same elements from inciting and disseminating the blood libel to the effect that he was murdered by Jews.
This incitement contributed its part to the shocking slaughter that was perpetrated this morning in a holy place during prayers. But what is outrageous is not only the brutality of the murder but the shouts of joy in Gaza, in Bethlehem and in other places. They are giving out candies, waving axes in the air and praising the shahidim [martyrs].
True, this time Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] condemned the slaughter and it is good that he did. I remember that he also condemned the murder of the three youths. But it is not enough because in the same sentence in which he condemned today’s slaughter, he linked it to imaginary actions – which have no basis in reality – that Israel is purportedly planning to carry out on the Temple Mount.
There is daily, even hourly, incitement on the streets of the Palestinian Authority. There, not only do the most reprehensible murderers become the heroes of Palestinian culture, but there is unending, constant incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel, against the security of Israel’s citizens, in schools, the media, mosques, everywhere, and this is the root of the conflict: The refusal to recognize – and educate for – the existence of the state of the Jews.
Last week I traveled to Jordan and held a very important meeting in Amman with King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Together, we called to calm the situation and for the restoration of quiet. To my regret, the answer that we received from the Palestinian Authority was to declare a day of rage in Jerusalem. And today we all saw the result.
The world sees this slaughter but, to our regret, does not demand that the Palestinians stop the wild incitement against Israel that is the root of the conflict. I call on all heads of state in the civilized world – I want to see outrage. I want to see condemnation, a deep and uncompromising condemnation of these murders of Israelis, of Jews. Do not discriminate between blood and blood. When there are other acts of murder you express the same outrage and condemn them. But when I see a three-month-old baby being murdered, when I see these Jews at prayer in a synagogue, our holy place, just as a church is holy for Christians and a mosque is holy for Muslims, I expect to at least hear the same condemnation, in an uncompromising and unreserved tone.
To my regret, there are those who currently insist on giving the Palestinians a prize in the form of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state that does not recognize the state of the Jews. We will not tolerate this reality; we will fight terrorism and we will defeat it. We will restore law, order and security to the streets of Jerusalem.
This evening I ordered the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre and the hastening of the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the earlier attacks. I ordered stepped-up enforcement against – and stiffer punishments for – those engaged in incitement, as well as the banning of organizations engaged in incitement, and increased security on the streets of Jerusalem. Alongside offensive actions there are also defensive actions.
Citizens of Israel, I call on you to show maximum alert and to respect the law. As a state, we will settle accounts with all of the terrorists and those who dispatched them. We have already proven that we do this, but let nobody take the law into his hands, even if tempers flare and blood boils. We are in a lengthy war against abhorrent terrorism which did not start today. Terrorism has followed us through all the years of the Zionist enterprise. We have always withstood it and we will do so this time as well.
There are those who would like to uproot us from our land and from our capital. They will not achieve their aim. We are in a battle for Jerusalem, our eternal capital. In this battle we must be united; this is the order of the day. We have always known to unite in times of trial. We must put aside all of the little differences and unite around one major issue – defending Jerusalem, defending the security of Israel’s citizens. I think that this is what the citizens of Israel expect of us at this time – to stand together as one, unified and united. What is called for at this time is national unity."