At least two parties in the opposition have expressed their support for the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as it works to combat escalating terror attacks.
Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz – a former defense minister and IDF chief of staff – and Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman, who likewise has served as a defense minister, both issued strong statements supporting the Netanyahu government in the wake of a deadly terror attack that killed two brothers, Hillel and Yigal Yaniv, earlier in the day.
“I am sure that the security forces will get their hands on the terrorists and those involved, and they will end up as I said before – in prison or in the grave,” Gantz said.
“In the face of terrorism, we must be determined, responsible and act like an iron fist. We will back every right move by the government against terrorism,” he added.
The former defense minister noted that the Netanyahu government is “doing well” and had similar praise for the security forces “who continue to maintain dialogue with the Palestinian Authority and the countries of the region, with the aim of fighting terrorism.”
Gantz added that “above all, it is of utmost importance to continue the fight against terrorism by all means, in all regions, with great intensity and while using all the tools: political, military, legal and economic.”
Liberman, who served as defense minister from 2016 to 2018, among other ministerial posts, likewise expressed his support for Netanyahu, and blamed Sunday’s deadly terror attack on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen.
“A serious shooting attack in Samaria, and all because of clear incitement on the part of Abu Mazen,” Liberman said.
“The same Abu Mazen with whose emissaries met today with [head of the National Security Council Tzachi] Hanegbi on Netanyahu’s orders,” he added with some ire.
Liberman, himself a resident of a Jewish community in eastern Gush Eztion, charged that Netanyahu “does not learn from past mistakes, and transmits weakness to our enemies and those who have to pay the price are the citizens of the State of Israel.”
Earlier in the day, Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Shin Bet director Ronen Bar attended a summit hosted by Jordan aimed at reducing the possibility of a further escalation in terror during the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which usually triggers increased terror attacks.
Representatives from the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the United States were also present at the political-security meeting, held in Jordan’s Red Sea resort town of Aqaba.
A joint statement from the participants following the meeting said an agreement was reached on “an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.”
Hanegbi, however, subsequently told news media that Israel did not agree to any settlement freeze, or changes in policy.
“Contrary to reports and tweets about the meeting in Jordan, there is no change of policy in Israel,” he said. “In the coming months the State of Israel will legalize nine outposts and approve 9,500 housing units in Judea and Samaria.
“There is no building freeze or change in the status quo on the Temple Mount and there is no restriction in IDF activity,” Hanegbi added.
TPS contributed to this report.