Coalition lawmakers urge escalation against Palestinians following terror attack


Right-wing politicians on Sunday called for strong measures against Palestine in response to a terror attack that seriously injured an Israeli man in the northern West Bank town of Huwara, the second shooting attack there in three weeks. A spokesman for MK’s far-right coalition urged the government to “destroy” the entire town in retaliation.

David Stern of Itamar settlement, a former US Marine in his 40s who works as an army instructor, was seriously injured after sustaining gunshot wounds to the head and shoulder in the attack on the Route 60 highway. He was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah, where his condition was upgraded from moderate to serious.

A woman in the car, identified as Stern’s wife, was also taken to a hospital with traumatic shock. She was not hit by the gunfire, doctors said.

The Israeli Defense Forces said the victim and the soldiers shot the Palestinian terrorist immediately after the attack, before he fled on foot. After a short chase, the troops found and detained the gunman, who was wounded by the gunfire of the victim and the troops, the IDF said, adding that his transfer sub-machine gun was seized.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was praying for the “wounded hero” who managed to shoot the terrorist attacker, adding: “Whoever tries to harm the citizens of Israel will bear the responsibility .”

Similarly, Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir sent wishes of recovery to Stern, recommending that he “save his own life, the life of his wife and the lives of other Jews who may have been struck by the murderer’s guns.”

A car seen with bullet holes at an intersection in the West Bank town of Huwara after a shooting attack on March 19, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

He urged the government to quickly pass a law that would allow courts to hand down death sentences to those convicted of deadly terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens, which has received a preliminary reading but Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara expected and expected to be mitigated.

Echoing that sentiment, Shlomo Ne’eman, director of the Yesha Council’s settlement umbrella group and head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said “a captured terrorist deserves death and not a prison with good conditions and a salary.” He also demanded that the government “employ a heavy hand against the terrorists, the [military] checkpoints and eliminate the stashes of weapons [used by Palestinians].”

The attack came just three weeks after two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack while driving through Huwara. After that attack, the settlers rioted in the town, setting fire to dozens of houses and cars. One Palestinian shot dead under unclear circumstances.

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank because it is the only Palestinian town that Israelis regularly travel through to reach settlements.

Settlers pray with burning cars and houses in the West Bank town of Huwara on February 26, 2023. (Screenshot/Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Echoing a widely criticized statement made by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich following Huwara’s previous attack in which he urged Israel to “destroy” the town, a spokesman for a member of the far-right coalition tweeted: “Huwara must be wiped out . Now! No apologies and no stuttering.

“As long as we don’t internalize this, we will continue to murder in the streets,” said Elisha Yered, media adviser to Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, of Ben Gvir’s party. “Understand this, Jews, no one is going to take care of your security. The system will only wake up when you try to protect yourself with your own hands.”

Son Har-Melech herself issued a strongly worded statement attacking the coalition she is part of, particularly Defense Minister Yoav Gallant whom she accused of “tolerant and restrained” anti-terrorist policies.

“These may be harsh words, but there is no other choice to say them: The lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria, especially those near Huwara, are constantly being forfeited – even under our current government,” she said. , using West Bank life. biblical name.

“It is time for a comprehensive and thorough operation that will include defeating the terror beds in cities and villages and collecting all the weapons, expelling the families of terrorists and taking strong steps against their supportive environment,” she said . “If policy does not change urgently, the next terrorist attack is only a matter of time.”

MK Orit Strock attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting in Jerusalem on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of National Missions Orit Strock said that while “Huwara should not be burned,” other measures are needed, including “putting up checkpoints before attacks and not just after them, reducing Arab traffic on this road, stop to add to trade along the road where the density is. it gives shelter to terrorists, the search for weapons in every house, and of course the immediate renewal of the settlement of Evyatar” – an illegal outpost that some members of the legitimate government want.

Some of the hilltop youth extremist groups of violent extremist settlers sent messages asking Jews to “wake up” and “go out to the intersections because we can’t go on like this.”

The left-wing rights group Yesh Din warned of the settlers’ plans to hold demonstrations near Huwara, urging the Israel Defense Forces to reinforce its forces and prevent a repeat of last month in the town.

Meanwhile, Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the terrorist group Hamas, praised the shooting, saying it was “a natural reaction to the occupation’s crimes against our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

The terrorist group, however, did not claim responsibility for the attack.

Palestinians were reported to be handing out sweets in celebration of the attack on the nearby town of Beita.

Israeli soldiers are seen at the scene of a shooting attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, March 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting almost nightly raids on the West Bank amid a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Palestine. Those tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.

Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 14 Israelis dead and many others injured.

At least 85 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them in attacks or during clashes with security forces, although some were unrelated civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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