Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today visited the site at which a West Bank couple were slain by Hamas terrorists five days ago, stressing that fighting terrorism “does not require harsh criticism, it requires a lot of strength, a resolute attitude, much composure and thoroughness.”
And Netanyahu dropped in on the IDF Samaria Brigade HQ to talk with commanders about how they’re putting that plan into action.
Rabbi Eitam Henkin and his wife Naama, both in their 30s, were driving with their family in the West Bank last week when a car containing at least two Palestinian gunmen pulled up and shot the couple to death. Their children, ranging from 4 months to 9 years old, were in the backseat, uninjured, perhaps because one of the gunmen accidentally shot another gunman and they fled the scene after that.
A five-member cell consisting of Hamas members from Nablus was arrested in the attack. Shin Bet said they admitted their involvement in the murders.
Netanyahu has since given the green light to security forces to unleash fury on terrorists who are striking at Israelis.
“The focus of this visit is active defense along the roads,” he said today. “A significant portion of the attacks are taking place along main roads and we have agreed here on a very serious plan in which we will deploy ground and aerial cameras on all roads in Judea and Samaria, with command and control centers, communication centers and fast response times. This change can significantly enhance our ability to thwart such attacks and of course to locate the perpetrators. This is a very, very important element in restoring security.”
The prime minister stressed, though, that road security is not all the IDF will be doing.
“There is no question of backing, there is no question of support – it is given generously and everyone knows it, everyone except those who say the opposite, and I think that even they know it,” Netanyahu said. “Local leaders must show the necessary responsibility, including those in the various communities, perhaps foremost in the communities, to act responsibly, to be precise. We are in an ongoing struggle.”
That includes operations in Jerusalem, which “is, of course, only the outer layer of events and the Temple Mount is the heart of hearts – by various means, and we are maintaining the status quo.”
“But the status quo does not allow bringing pipebombs into the al-Aqsa Mosque. The status quo certainly must not allow throwing firebombs and rocks,” he said. “We have directed the police and other security forces to deal aggressively with these phenomena and I also want to deal with those shopkeepers, those Palestinians who were there on the street, on which a Jewish woman ran stabbed and bleeding, and they spat at her and kicked her.”
Adele Bennet-Benita’s husband, 21-year-old Aharon Benita Bennett, was stabbed to death on his way to pray at the Western Wall on Saturday night. Rabbi Nechemya Lavi ran from his nearby home to try to save her, and he was killed as well. She was seriously wounded and their 2-year-old son was lightly wounded by 19-year-old Islamic Jihad terrorist Mohannad Shafik Halabi.
“They had murder in their eyes,” Bennet-Benita told Netanyahu when he visited her bedside . “They were drinking coke meanwhile… laughed in my face… I ran and cried for help… you could see the hatred in their eyes! You could see that everything was planned, they knew how to do it…”
Netanyahu has requested that “these people be investigated, prosecuted and their stores closed according to law.”
“We cannot accept a repetition of these events anywhere in the world, certainly not in Israel’s capital. We also demand very sharp action against incitement, including its sources, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority – but first and foremost the source of incitement in recent years is the Islamic Movement in the State of Israel,” he continued. “We will act against it as well. With all these measures, I think we will achieve important results and I think we can break this wave, as we broke previous waves.”