Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet on Wednesday to discuss mounting Palestinian terrorist violence in both the so-called “West Bank” and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Security officials have logged 167 Palestinian attacks on Israelis in December alone.
Among the more serious attacks were Sunday’s failed bus bombing near Tel Aviv, Monday’s stabbing of an Israeli police officer near Jerusalem, and yesterday’s fatal shooting of a technician doing repairs on the Gaza security fence.
In addition to those, there have been dozens of rock and firebomb attacks against Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and more than a few rockets fired from Gaza.
“Our policy up until now has been to prevent beforehand and to react with force, and this is how we will act now as well,” Netanyahu said following the Gaza border shooting, which killed a Bedouin civilian employee of the Defense Ministry.
Hours later, Israeli aircraft struck terrorist targets in several parts of Gaza. Palestinian sources said that at least two civilians, a father and his young daughter, were killed in the reprisals.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett laid the blame for the blood on both sides squarely on the Palestinian Authority, which continues to incite violence against Israel. “If the terrorism continues, there won’t be quiet on the Palestinian side,” Bennett told Army Radio.
Bennett and other ministers were expected to use Wednesday’s cabinet meeting to press Netanyahu to postpone or cancel the third release of Palestinian prisoners as part of renewed US-brokered peace talks in light of the escalating violence.
While the government is reluctant to do so, many Israelis, including those in the security forces, believe we are witnessing the outbreak, or at least the preparation for, a new intifada, or terrorist uprising.