Hundreds demonstrate as Netanyahu defends his dealing with terrorism


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of Jewish settlers and their supporters demonstrated in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, protesting weakness in dealing with West Bank terrorism.

The protesters on Sunday morning during the weekly Cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called for measures to strengthen the settlements, including legalizing housing in Ofra, the site of a terror attack one week ago.

But inside the meeting, Netanyahu did not accept the protesters’ premise.

“Following the wave of murderous terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria last week we have taken vigorous security and settlement actions,” he said at the start of the Cabinet meeting.

He noted that two of the terrorists in recent attacks were “located and eliminated” and a third turned himself in. He said that he ordered the acceleration of the demolition of terrorists’ homes and the revocation of work permits for the families of terrorists.

“I sent a clear message to Hamas: We will not accept a situation in which there is a ceasefire in Gaza and terrorism in Judea and Samaria. We will exact a heavy price for this,” Netanyahu said.

He also said that he has ordered that thousands of homes in West Bank settlements be legalized and approved 82 new homes and apartments for Ofra.

The demonstrators were joined by government ministers including Education Minister Naftali Bennett; Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Uri Ariel; Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, all of the Jewish Home Party; and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin; and Science Minister Ofir Akunis, both of Netanyahu’s Likud Party; and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen of the Kulanu Party, as well as several Knesset lawmakers.

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