Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a press conference on Thursday night at the Foreign Ministry, where he, together with the ministry's director-general Dore Gold, discussed the recent wave of Arab terrorism.
Netanyahu in his remarks addressed Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's false claim that Israel had "executed" an Arab child for no reason in Jerusalem. The 13-year-old terrorist is in fact alive and receiving medical treatment from Israel, after stabbing and seriously wounding two Israelis including a 13-year-old boy.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) tried to retroactively change Abbas's speech to say the terrorist was "shot," but in fact he was hit by a car as he ran searching for victims in Jerusalem's northeastern neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev. His accomplice, another 13-year-old terrorist, was shot dead as he tried to attack security forces.
"First of all, he's alive. Second, he isn't innocent," emphasized Netanyahu, demanding that the PA stop trying to impose a "false symmetry" between innocent Israeli civilians and Arab terrorists.
He slammed "the new big lie" of the PA, which claims the IDF is "executing" Arab terrorists, and comes after claims that Israel is "desecrating" Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu promised to spread the facts in response, and urged all to "look at these facts, see the truth, and (do) not draw a false symmetry."
Terrorist receiving the "best treatment"
A Government Press Office (GPO) spokesperson then spoke, emphasizing there is no "change in the status quo" of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where as he noted a small number of Jews are allowed to visit and "only Muslims are allowed to pray" according to the ban of the Jordanian Waqf which holds de facto control.
Recent calls by Abbas's Fatah inciting to terror were then shown, including Twitter posts calling for more attacks in Jerusalem.
A spokesperson then provided a rundown of the recent spate of terror attacks, and noted how just days before the attacks a large number of the terrorists used social media to call for terrorism, amid a wave of attacks including 23 stabbings that left eight Israelis murdered.
A representative from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital then took the podium, saying that the hospital provides the best care possible "regardless of nationality." He spoke about the treatment being provided to the 13-year-old terrorist who Abbas had claimed was "executed."
"He had a thorough evaluation using the most modern techniques that are known to modern medicine, and there was nothing spared in his treatment."
Afterwards a representative of the police spoke about the "fast and swift" response of the officers, noting that "half of the terrorists have been captured, the rest have been shot, and others have been killed. We have no choice but to respond."
He then showed video footage of the Pisgat Ze'ev stabbing which the two 13-year-old terrorists conducted, detailing how they first hunted down and stabbed repeatedly a young man in his 20s before stabbing a 13-year-old who had just left a market where he bought candies.
"I'm open to diplomatic solutions"
The conference was then opened for questions, at which point Netanyahu was asked about possible diplomatic solutions to end the conflict, such as talks with Abbas.
"I've called for this repeatedly," said Netanyahu, who said he was "perfectly open" to diplomatic talks, and that he hoped such a move might "stop the wave of incitement."
"I'm willing to meet him (Abbas), he's not willing to meet me. Get with the program," emphasized the prime minister, rebutting a question about whether he would be willing to meet the PA chairman. "You should direct your questions to him."
"The international community has given Abbas a pass," said Netanyahu, saying this "pass" to incite over the years is now bearing results.
Asked if Abbas is still a "peace partner," Netanyahu said Abbas first of all has to calm the terror wave. He added that he is still willing to hold a peace summit with the PA head.
"If we find Duma arsonists you'll know"
Asked about reports that some attacks are being launched on the pretext of the arson attack in the Arab village of Dura, and why the three Jewish youths who are in administrative detention remain there if they were not involved, Netanyahu emphasized that he condemned the arson while pointing out the Abbas hasn't condemned the recent attacks.
"If we find the murderers and if we have the proof you'll hear about it immediately, believe me," said Netanyahu. "Sometimes it's hard, in this case, to apprehend Jewish terrorists."
The prime minister brushed off the notion that the arson could possibly justify the terror attacks.
Netanyahu did not address the three Jewish youths currently being held in administrative detention, two of whom were recently transferred to solitary confinement in what is said to be a breach of their administrative detention orders.
"State Department is wrong"
Asked about the US State Department announcement criticizing Israeli "excessive force," Netanyahu said the claims were misplaced, asking "what would soldiers do in New York, or London or Paris?"
"Israel does what it must to fight terror" in the same way "that any other government would do so," he said.
In response to the question of how long the current terror wave can continue, Netanyahu noted that Arab terror has continued for long years, even back to the lethal Arab riots in the 1920s. "The waves rise and fall," he said, emphasizing, "what caused it isn't any action by Israel."
He stated that the reasons given for the attacks have varied from peace talks being started following the 1994 Oslo Accords, or more recently due to the "lack of a political horizon," and noted that the real reason is that the Arab terrorists want Israel to cease existing.
Asked if he's worried about "losing control" of Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that recent counter-terror measures taken in the capital do not indicate any division of the city, telling foreign reporters "don't get your hopes up."
"What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into crowds trying to murder people?," he posed, noting the response "might be more, but not less" than the Israeli response, and criticizing the condemnation of Israeli "excessive force."
"The first order of the day in fighting terrorism is moral clarity," he added. "Abbas is inciting murder."
The conference comes just a day after Gold and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a member of the Security Cabinet, gave a similar press conference at the Government Press Office.
In their remarks, Gold and Steinitz addressed the rampant incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that they attributed the current wave of attacks to, and blamed the West for giving legitimacy to terrorism against Jews in Israel in double-standards of criticism and reporting.