Netanyahu, Hamas turn up rhetoric over violence

(NVO) – Hamas hailed on Monday (October 19) the recent spate of violence and called on Palestinians to push ahead with the Intifada, or uprising, while Israel called on the country to respect the rule of law.

“We swear to you (God) that this Intifada will continue until Jerusalem, the West Bank and Palestine are liberated ,” said senior Hamas leader Fathy Hammad during a rally in Gaza city marking the fifth anniversary of a prisoner swap deal.

Hammad demanded the Palestinian Authority severe security coordination with Israel and praised the Palestinian attackers.

Forty-two Palestinians and eight Israelis have died in the one of the worst outbreaks of violence in years, which was in part triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he seeks no change to the decades-old status quo at the holy compound, which is also revered by Jews as the site where two biblical temples once stood.

In remarks broadcast to his Likud party members on Monday, Netanyahu praised citizens who thwart attacks and called on everyone to abide by the law.

“We are in a continued struggle. I think it is clear that we will win it. But this thing sometimes creates friction between citizens in the locations of the attacks. Citizens who are attacked act in a manner that makes us proud. A crowd who finds himself at the site should evacuate the area and let the emergency services do their job. We’ve a country of law. No one will take the law into his own hands. That’s the first rule. Secondly, what we see here is a combination of extremist Islam and the Internet. It’s Osama bin Laden meets (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg,” he said.

His remarks came after an Eritrean migrant, shot by a security guard and kicked by an angry Israeli crowd that mistook him for a gunman, was identified as one of the dead from an attack on a bus station in the southern city of Beersheba.

Many Israelis fear the escalating violence is building into a full Palestinian Intifada or uprising while Palestinian leaders have said an Israeli security crackdown amounts to collective punishment that will provoke more violence.