Nov 10, 2014 8:33 AM

Israeli leader vows harsh response to Arab unrest

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel's prime minister promised a harsh response to an ongoing wave of Arab violence on Monday, following a stabbing attack on a soldier at a crowded train station in Tel Aviv.

Speaking to members of his Likud Party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will use all means available to stop weeks of unrest that has shaken east Jerusalem, northern Israel and Tel Aviv.

He also said that he will pursue new measures, including demolishing the homes of instigators. And in a veiled threat toward Arab demonstrators in Israel and east Jerusalem, he said attackers should consider moving to the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

"Believe me, we will put no difficulties in your path," he said.

Netanyahu spoke shortly after the soldier was stabbed by a suspected Palestinian assailant in Tel Aviv. A hospital spokeswoman said the soldier was in grave condition.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect was from the West Bank city of Nablus and was captured immediately after the stabbing.

"He is presently under interrogation," Rosenfeld said.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been extremely high in recent weeks, following last summer's war in the Gaza Strip and increasing frictions over a contested Jerusalem holy site.

The fatal shooting of an Israeli Arab by a policeman early Saturday in the northern Israeli Arab town of Kfar Kana gave new impetus to the tensions, following release of a video that appeared to show the man backing away from police when he was shot.

The police's internal investigations department is looking into the shooting to determine whether proper protocol was followed.

Arab citizens make up some 20 percent of Israel's population. They enjoy full citizenship but share the ethnicity and culture of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and have long complained of discrimination. They often identify with Palestinian nationalism, rather than Israeli.


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