‘We Will Overcome,’ Says Bennett as Israeli Military, Police Step Up Efforts to Counter Terror Wave
As Israel struggles with a new wave of Palestinian terrorism, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces has stressed the need to redouble intelligence and police efforts to curb infiltrators during a field visit in the West Bank.
“Our mission is to stop these kind of attacks from happening, and even though we do so on a routine basis, we must concentrate our efforts which include intelligence activity, reinforcing military units in the Judea and Samaria Division and along the buffer zone, and in strengthening and reinforcing the Israel Police,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Aviv Kochavi stated on Friday.
“We will continue to act in every way possible to stop attacks — that is our mission,” he said.
Kochavi was visiting the buffer zone near the West Bank security barrier where Diaa Hamarsheh, the 27-year-old terrorist who murdered five people in the city of Bnei Brak on Tuesday, crossed into Israel.
“It is your actions which prevent terrorist attacks,” he told the gathered IDF officers. “Thanks to each of you, everything you are doing, terrorist attacks were thwarted, preventing harm to hundreds of families.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meanwhile emphasized on Friday that the state was being proactive in responding to “the series of severe terrorist attacks.”
In a thread on Twitter ahead of Shabbat in Israel, Bennett said action had been taken against supporters of ISIS as well as other Islamist organizations, and that IDF and police reinforcements had been “deployed throughout the country.” Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday ordered 1,000 troops to reinforce police in the West Bank and in Israeli cities.
Bennett also highlighted efforts to seize illegal weapons that have filtered through to Arab communities in Israel, encouraging an upswing in crime.
“The Arab citizens of Israel, for the most part, are imploring the state to take these weapons, and to continue our operation in the face of crime,” Bennett said. He said that “hundreds of thousands” of illegal firearms had been accumulated over several years, adding that “now we must eradicate it.”
However, a report on Israel’s Channel 12 on Friday suggested that Bennett’s desire to rid the Arab sector of illegal weapons will not be easily executed. Law enforcement officials had told Bennett and other cabinet members that the resources to seize illegal weapons — an estimated 400,000 are in circulation — were too squeezed to carry out an effective operation.
The three terror operations that have taken the lives of 11 Israelis in recent days began with an attack in the northern city of Hadera, in which two Arab Israelis from Umm al-Fahm shot dead two Border Police officers using illegal handguns.
Comparing the present terror wave to previous waves, Bennett pledged: “This time, too, we will overcome, and strive to do so as quickly as possible.”