'Knife Intifada' Incited to 'Clean Jerusalem of Jews'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel says the Palestinian Authority is behind a sharp increase in terror attacks. Its leaders are telling people Israel is out to destroy the al-Aksa Mosque.
On Tuesday, two Palestinians apparently took the message to heart and murdered two Israelis. Following two separate stabbing attacks Monday, Palestinians tweeted, "The knife intifada has begun."
One terrorist stabbed a 20-year-old soldier to death at a Tel Aviv bus stop in the afternoon.
A few hours later, another terrorist stabbed a 26-year-old woman to death at the same bus stop where three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in June.
It's the latest in a series of terror attacks using everyday items like cars and knives to murder Israelis. Israel says the P.A. is inciting Palestinian Arabs to terrorism.
"The main thing is racist incitement carried out especially by Abu Mazen himself and his advisors, officials. This incitement calls for the use of all means, as they call it, in order to make sure Jerusalem, and especially the Temple Mount, is clean from Jews.," Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry, told CBN News.
At an earlier press briefing, Kuperwasser cited several recent speeches by Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, which he says are causing the trouble.
In one such speech, Abbas says, "It is not enough for us to say that there are defenders. We must all become defenders of al-Aksa [meaning the Temple Mount]. It is not enough for us to say the settlers [Israeli Jews] might come to al-Aqsa mosque. They did come and they must not be allowed into the complex. We must prevent their entrance into the complex by any means possible."
Hamas, a partner in the P.A. unity government, was more explicit. Fathi Hamad, a member of the Hamas political bureau, spoke about a vehicular attack in Jerusalem on the group's al-Aksa TV last week.
"We, the Hamas movement, applaud this operation and encourage anyone who can carry out more [such operations]," Hamad told his interviewer.
"Even he who owns nothing but his faith has a kitchen in his house in which he has a knife. He must grab his knife and confront the Zionist enemy," he continued. "Another one owns no weapon, but does own a car, he must push down on the gas pedal in order to take a revenge of the settlers who corrupt the land and defile the al-Aqsa Mosque," he said.
"I say, there must be an uprising now, a raging uprising first of all against the [P.A.'s] security coordination [with Israel] so there should be no restrictions; then, the Islamic Palestinian armies committed to al-Aqsa will set out toward al-Aqsa and Jerusalem until the Jews abandon their intentions," Hamad said.
Kuperwasser says those pronouncements provide a "license" to attack and kill Israelis.
"This was, in my mind, understood by the people on the ground as a license to do things on the ground," Kuperwasser said. "That's what brought about developments, the violence we see recently."
In response to increasing attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will fight the incitement from the Palestinian Authority and from Islamist extremists.
"We will act decisively against the rioters calling for Israel's annihilation," Netanyahu warned. "Those who protest against the State of Israel and in favor of the Palestinian state, I say to them simply, move there -- to the Palestinian Authority or Gaza. I promise you that the State of Israel will not make it difficult for you."
"But for those who stay here, we will make it difficult if you are a rioter or a terrorist," he said.
Palestinians claim al-Aksa is in danger because a growing number of Jewish Israelis want the right to pray on the Temple Mount, the site of two Jewish temples in biblical times, which the Palestinians allege, along with Jewish history in Israel, never existed.
The Israeli government said it will defer to the Muslims and maintain the status quo there. For now that means only Muslims are allowed to pray on the coveted plateau.
In the meantime, Israelis are dealing with the possibility of terror attacks any place, anytime.