JERUSALEM (JTA) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Arab citizens of Israel to “respect the law.”
“Do not be swept away by propaganda and incitement. Don’t be swept away by an inflamed minority. You are citizens with equal rights and equal obligations, and the first obligation of any citizen is to respect the law,” Netanyahu said Tuesday night at the end of a security Cabinet meeting.
The meeting, which lasted several hours, was called in the face of riots and unrest in the Arab sector, as well as terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in the center of the country as well as the West Bank.
“We are determined to take all possible action against incitement and escalation; we will take vigorous action against the terrorists,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader said he had ordered new steps to combat the rioting and terror, including the demolition of terrorists’ homes; more severe punishment for throwing stones and firebombs; and fines for parents of children throwing rocks, among other measures.
Netanyahu said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “is not a partner in this effort” to reduce tension and violence, and is inflaming the situation rather than calming it.
“Instead of speaking the truth, he is disseminating lies to the effect that we intend, or are operating in some way, to change the status of the holy places – this is a gross lie,” Netanyahu charged.