After the tragic events in Paris on Friday where gunmen affiliated with the Islamic State or ISIS killed 129 people in separate and coordinated attacks, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on world leaders to condemn acts of “terrorism” and “radical Islam” perpetrated by Palestinians, claiming “the terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris.”
“The time has come for the world to wake up and unite in order to defeat terrorism. The time has come for countries to condemn terrorism against us to the same degree that they condemn terrorism everywhere else in the world,” Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, further adding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should renounce attacks on Israelis over recent weeks.
Since October 1st, Palestinians killed 15 Israelis in the West Bank and Israel, and Israeli forces killed more than 110 Palestinians including alleged attackers and protesters in near-daily demonstrations that have spread across the West Bank under the banner of a “knife Intifada” or uprising.
“It would be proper for Abu Mazen, who condemned the attack in France yesterday, to condemn ruthless terrorism against innocent people in Israel and fight the incitement that motivates it,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu underscored that neither the Israeli occupation, nor the settlements are a driving force behind the last six-weeks of violence.
“We should remember – we are not to blame for the terrorism directed against us, just as the French are not to blame for the terrorism directed against them. It is the terrorists who are to blame for terrorism, not the territories, not the settlements and not any other thing. It is the desire to destroy us that perpetuates this conflict and drives the murderous aggression against us,” he said.
Despite on-going turmoil that has had less steam that the previous two Intifadas, both governments held commemorations honoring the victims of the Paris attacks. Israeli leaders lighted the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and the Knesset in the colors of the French flag, and Palestinian officials held a memorial in Bethlehem.
In response a senior Palestinian official today decried Netanyahu’s public charge of linking Palestinian attacks against Israelis to the actions of ISIS in France.
“Netanyahu is attempting to exploit the cruel and inhuman terrorism of Daesh in order to score cheap political points at the expense of the Palestinian people,” said Palestinian Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, referring to ISIS by its Arabic abbreviation. “His statements are not only fraudulent and politically coercive, they are symptomatic of political and moral bankruptcy.”
ISIS militants have issued warnings of conquest to both Israeli and Palestinians leaders during the past year. In a video address to the “tyrants of Hamas,” last June ISIS warned of their intentions to turn Israel, Hamas-controlled Gaza, and Fatah-run West Bank into districts of the Islamic caliphate by the same brute force used to expand their reign in parts of Syria and Iraq.
“We will uproot the state of the Jews [Israel] and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun by our creeping multitudes,” Reuters reported the video statement said, “The rule of sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,” the alert continued, making reference to the Damascus-area Palestinian refugee camp now overrun by ISIS fighters.
In October, in a rare move ISIS released a video threat directed towards Israel.
“To all the Jews who conquered our country, the Muslims. The real war has not started yet, and everything you had before is simply called a child’s play compared to that which is going to happen to you in the near future,” said a fluent Hebrew-speaking gunman.
“Do whatever you feel like in the meantime, until we get to you, and then we’ll destroy everything ten times over for the crimes your committed. And we promise you that soon there will not be a single Jew in Jerusalem and throughout the country. And we’ll continue on until we eradicate this disease worldwide.”