Netanyahu, Barak vow to stop extremist attacks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a West Bank military base that was vandalized by extreme rightists vowed to stop such attacks.

"This is a stain on all of Israel and on a population of settlers that are not part of this phenomenon," Netanyahu said Tuesday night at the Efraim Regional Brigade base near Kalkilya. "We must join forces against this extremist phenomenon and erase this stain."

Netanyahu and Barak lit Chanukah candles at the base on the first night of the holiday.

Netanyahu condemned so-called price tag violence, saying "we cannot accept vandalism of mosques or harming police officers, soldiers or innocent people. This can happen, but if it does, we must act with full authority against the perpetrators." 

Barak said  that a "small group of extremists" attempted to undermine the rule of law and that it was unacceptable.

"We will act with all of our might, within the IDF and with all the law enforcement agencies, to entrench the reality that even with all the legitimate internal disagreements, no one will raise their hands against a soldier or a commander of the IDF, or for that matter a police officer," he said, adding that "No one in the State of Israel is above the law."

Barak told reporters that he believed that recent incidents, including the vandalizing of the army base and the torching of mosques, were terrorist acts.

Last week, about 50 right-wing activists, mostly youth, entered the base and vandalized military vehicles. The brigade’s commander was hurt after a rock struck his head. The activists also threw stones at passing Palestinian cars and military vehicles.

Recommended from JTA