JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Arab community leaders in Israel to help restore quiet amid rioting by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
The violence and rioting over the weekend in eastern Jerusalem and throughout the Galilee followed Friday’s burial of a Palestinian teen who was found burned to death two days earlier in the Jerusalem forest.
Israeli police used rubber bullets and tear gas to quell the rioting at several sites in Jerusalem as well as in several towns in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, home to a large Arab-Israeli population.
“We are taking a tough line against anyone who breaks the law and against inciters from whatever side,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “There is no place in the State of Israel for stone-throwing at police, throwing firebombs, blocking roads or destroying property, or incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel.
“This rope cannot be held from both ends. One cannot benefit from National Insurance payments and child allowances on the one hand and, on the other, violate the most basic laws of the State of Israel. I call on the leaders of the Arab public to show responsibility and come out against the wave of disturbances in order to restore quiet. Whoever does not abide by the law will be arrested and punished severely.”
Palestinian Authority Attorney General Mohammed Al-A’wewy told the official Palestinian Wafa news agency that the Palestinian teen, Muhammed Abu Khieder, was burned alive in the early morning attack on July 2, hours after the burial of three kidnapped Israeli teens whose bodies were found in a shallow grave in a field near Hebron. Khieder had been abducted from his eastern Jerusalem neighborhood.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Sunday that it arrested and was questioning “several Jewish suspects” in the killing, which police say may have been a reprisal by Jewish extremists for the June 12 abduction and murders of three Israeli youths in the West Bank.