Naftali Bennett today defended police conduct in Friday night’s shooting death of an Arab man in Kafr Kanna, saying the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, for his part, vowed to revoke the citizenship of those who call for Israel’s destruction – an apparent response to denunciations of Israel and support for “Palestine” among Israeli Arab demonstrators Saturday.
Bennett was responding to criticism of the police by Israeli Arab leaders following Friday night’s incident in which police shot and killed 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan, who allegedly attempted to stab officers who were dispatched to arrest him in the Galilean town. His remarks were made as thousands attended Hamdan’s funeral in Kafr Kanna, and hundreds belonging to the Islamic Movement gathered in Haifa and called for a third intifada.
“A frenzied Arab terrorist attacked our police officers with a knife in an attempt to kill them. The response of our police was what was expected of our security people,” the economics minister said.
“It’s possible and necessary to investigate. Always. But it’s not ‘murder in cold blood,'” Ynet quoted him saying, in reference to remarks by the mayor of Kafr Kanna about Hamdan’s death. “We definitely must not abandon our security forces who were sent to protect us.”
Bennett went so far as to draw a correlation between Hamdan and the perpetrators of attacks in recent weeks on Israeli civilians and security personnel in Jerusalem.
“If we don’t give support we’ll see more and more Israelis murdered with knives, firecrackers and run over by cars,” he said, referring to the use of firecrackers by Palestinian protesters against police in Jerusalem, and the recent attacks in Jerusalem in which Palestinians careened into pedestrians. Four people were killed in two car attacks in Jerusalem in recent weeks, and many others injured.
Netanyahu responded to the rioting in Kafr Kanna following Hamdan’s death, saying that those who don’t respect the law will be punished with “utmost severity.”
“Israel is a nation of law. We will not tolerate disturbances and rioting,” the prime minister said in a statement. “We will act against those who throw stones, block roads and call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of the State of Israel. Whoever does not honor Israeli law will be punished with utmost severity. I will instruct the Interior Minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
Read more: The Times of Israel