Government officials have confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his scheduled trip to Germany due to the current security situation in Israel.
Netanyahu had planned earlier this week simply to shorten the trip, but Wednesday morning another Israeli was stabbed in a terror attack at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.
This time the attacker was an 18-year-old Palestinian Arab girl who sneaked up on a 35-year-old Jewish man from behind and stabbed him in the back. She was stopped from killing her victim by a nearby armed Israeli passerby who drew his gun and shot her. It’s not yet clear whether she was operating as part of a larger terror cell or not.
Netanyahu’s decision to remain at home, and his announcement that he has cancelled the trip in light of the security situation, reflects the rise in tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Despite a public statement by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas claiming his desire for peace on Tuesday, he coyly delivered a very different message to the Palestinians on the street.
“We don’t want a military and security escalation with Israel,” he said at a meeting of executive officials, according to the PA’s WAFA news agency. “We are telling our security forces, our political movements that we do not want an escalation, but that we do want to protect ourselves.”
A statement by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – which Abbas also heads – later that evening, brazenly said the group was “saluting the masses of Palestinians who are confronting the ‘Occupation’” and urged PA residents to “unite for an act of national defense.”
A Palestinian Authority official later told The Guardian newspaper, “What [the two statements] are saying, is do not fall into an Israeli trap and start shooting. It does not mean Abbas is saying ‘no’ to the popular resistance.” The official predicted a “difficult week ahead,” the newspaper reported.
The brazen incitement being disseminated from the very top levels of government in the Palestinian Authority is clearly successful in encouraging Arab teens and young adults to attack Israeli civilians and police — hence the prime minister’s decision to remain in Israel to contend with the results and find a solution.