Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
JERUSALEM – Israelis from across the political spectrum expressed condemnation and disgust at the slaying of Muhammad Abu Khdeir from Shuafat, Jerusalem on July 2nd.
Israeli security forces announced yesterday that they have arrested six Israelis in connection with the murder. The motive appears to be an act of revenge for the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teens last month.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch stated yesterday after the arrests were announced: “The Jerusalem District of the Israel Police and the Shabak have arrested several youths on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. I would like to thank all those involved in the work, who, since the event, have devoted maximum efforts to uncovering and arresting the perpetrators. The State of Israel is a country that abides by, and enforces, the law, and will continue to take determined action against all those who violate the law. I ask that everyone show responsibility and work to prevent further disturbances. This was a shocking and unacceptable act which any sane person, certainly in a strong and democratic country such as the State of Israel, must strongly condemn.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after exiting the home of the Frenkel family in Nof Ayalon where that are mourning for their son Naftali, remarked: “I am visiting today with my family, the families of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists. I promised their dear families that we will continue to stand by them, even after the days of mourning.” After relating to the continued efforts to arrest the Hamas terrorists, Netanyahu said: “I would like to send my condolences to the Abu Khdeir family. I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime, which must be resolutely condemned in the most forceful language. I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime will face the full weight of the law. I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And that’s the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison. And that’s not the only difference. While we put these murderers on trial, in the Palestinian Authority, there is continuous incitement for the destruction of the State of Israel. It’s a staple of the official media and the educational system. This is an asymmetrical conflict. We do not seek their destruction; they teach a very broad segment of their society to seek our destruction. And that must end. There is too much suffering. There is too much pain. We do not differentiate between the terrorists and we will respond to all of them, wherever they come from, with a firm hand. We will not allow extremists from wherever they come to ignite the region and shed more blood.”
PM Netanyahu spoke this morning with Hussein Abu Khdeir, Muhammad’s father. “I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son. We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior; the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being,” Netanyahu told Abu Khdeir.
President Shimon Peres said yesterday that, “If a Jew kills they will be put to the court like any other criminal, there is no privilege, the law is equal to all and all are equal before the law. On that there is no compromise. We do not distinguish between blood and blood. The murder of a child is reprehensible, regardless of the religion or nationality of the child. It is our responsibility to secure life and to punish those who take it away from others. We’re a nation that is not looking for war; peace remains our strategic, historic and moral preference. Israel is a proud democracy and decisions are taken by the majority through ballots, not by the minority with bullets.”
President Peres repeated his call for an end to incitement and violence, “We must stop the incitement, it’s time to be respectful and to respect the law. It’s in our hands. We know where words can lead, to more sorrow, to more danger. It’s time for all of us to show restraint, to show understanding and let us as human beings, all of us, be true to our morality and to our hope of living together in peace.”
Some right wing organization called on the government to destroy the homes of the killers, as is customary with Arab terrorists. The Legal Forum for Israel called on the government to act with the killers as harshly as they act with Arab terrorists.
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of Elon Moreh in Samaria, believes the killers deserve the death penalty: “We must eradicate this evil form within us. The Jewish law is not forgiving when it relates to a vicious murder. The court can sentence someone to death today if he has committed a public offense. The State of Israel and its executing arm the IDF, are responsible for the war on terror,” he added.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) condemned the attack and the Arab population’s response: “I condemn murder and violence from any side; Jews and Arabs alike; murder is murder. We must condemn this, and allow the police to conclude this affair,” stated Regev. “This said, the Arab’s rioting has no place. When three of our boys were murdered we did not riot like this. They are working against the law and we must act with force against them, as we did with the terrorists. Israeli Arabs working against the state should be punished. I am currently working to formulate a law that will revoke Israeli citizenship and the rights to social security from those convicted of terrorism and incitement,” she said.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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