In Wake of ISIS Attack, Forum With Arab States Gives Common Enemies ‘Something to Fear,’ Says Lapid
Foreign ministers of the US, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who met at a first-of-its kind summit in Israel’s south condemned Sunday’s deadly terror attack in Hadera, as plans to deepen the regional partnership were revealed.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett cautioned Monday that Israel’s security forces need to adapt swiftly to the “new threat” faced by Islamic State supporters after two 19-year-old Israeli border police officers were killed on Sunday by a pair of Arab-Israeli cousins belonging to the militant group.
The two terrorists were neutralized after opening fire on a main street in the city of Hadera, about 30 miles north of Tel Aviv. The incident marked the second attack by ISIS supporters in Israel within a week.
“The heart breaks over the deaths of border police officers Shirel Abukarat and Yezen Falah who fell defending civilians from abhorrent murderers. We will not forget their heroism,” Bennett stated. “I call on citizens to continue being alert. Together we will defeat this enemy as well.”
Bennett on Monday ordered security forces to hold terror suspects in administrative detention subject to a legal basis, and instructed the immediate reinforcement of all “security elements,” while calling for more IDF conscripts and reservists to carry guns and weapons.
He also announced a broader effort to expand Israel Police operations to seize weapons. At the same time, Defense Minister Benny Gantz decided to postpone a planned visit to India following the recent spate of terror attacks.
Sunday’s attack overshadowed the start of the two-day Negev summit, which for the first time brought together the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the UAE in Israel.
Speaking at the summit, Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid noted that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Hamas terror group praised the “horrific” attack and declared that it was a response to the gathering of foreign ministers from the Arab world, the US and Israel.
“This was murder for the sake of murder, terror for the sake of terror,” Lapid said. “The terrorists’ goal is to intimidate us.”
At the summit, Israeli and Arab foreign ministers announced an initiative to build a “new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation.”
“What we are doing here today is making history,” Lapid remarked. “This new architecture, the shared capabilities we are building, intimidates and deters our common enemies — first and foremost Iran and it’s proxies — they certainly have something to fear.”
“What will stop them is not hesitation or being conciliatory, but rather determination and strength,” he continued. Furthermore, it was decided to turn the regional get-together of the Negev summit into a permanent forum which will meet annually.
“Together with our closest friend, the United States, we are today opening a door before all the peoples of the region, including the Palestinians, and offering them to replace the way of terror and destruction with a shared future of progress and success,” Lapid said.