Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday vowed that in contrast to the Palestinian Authority, Israel will not honor the Jewish murderers of an Arab teenager, but will instead punish them to the full extent of the law.
Earlier in the afternoon, police officials announced that they had arrested six Jewish suspects in last week’s grizzly slaying of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Arab from the eastern Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat.
Three of those suspects have now admitted under police interrogation to carrying out the crime.
It is believed that the Jewish gang acted spontaneously and in revenge for the abduction and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel last month. Netanyahu insisted there could be no justification for their actions.
“Such murderers have no place in Israeli society,” Netanyahu stated gravely. “I promise you that we will bring the full force of the law to bear against the perpetrators of this horrific crime, which deserves every sort of condemnation and rejection.”
An infuriated Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon posted to Facebook: “These debased murderers don’t represent the Jewish people or its values, and they must be treated as terrorists.”
Finance Minister Yair Lapid concurred, saying that all Israelis “must all feel ashamed over the facts being uncovered in the case of the murdered Arab youth. …There is no difference between [Jewish] blood and [Arab] blood. …[We must] deal decisively and aggressively with the murderers [and] work to eradicate the extremism in our midst.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home faction, expressed similar sentiments, calling the murder of Abu Khdeir “terrible, immoral and anti-Jewish.”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu took the opportunity to skewer the cultural celebration of terrorism on the Palestinian side, noting that had Abu Khdeir been Jewish and his killers Palestinians, they would have been honored as heroes.
“This is the difference between us and our neighbors,” explained the Israeli leader. “There, murderers are received as heroes, and city squares are named in their honor.”
Numerous roads, plazas, schools and even youth summer camps in the Palestinian-controlled territories are named after terrorists who have butchered Israeli men, women and children. Each time Israel releases jailed terrorist killers they are given a hero’s welcome by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas himself.
Netanyahu said that if Abbas wanted to demonstrate his purported commitment to non-violence and the rule of law, then he could do more to assist in the capture and punishment of those behind the abduction and murder of the Jewish youths.
“We know well who is responsible for the murder of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, and we will get to them,” insisted the prime minister. “The murderers left territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and returned there. Therefore it is the Authority’s responsibility to do everything to locate them, just as Israel’s security forces discovered in a few short days the murderers of the youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir.”