September 27, 2023

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at the site of a terrorist attack in Ramot, Jerusalem.

‘The purpose of the operation is to fight and uproot terrorism… and stop terrorists before they carry out attacks’

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Friday called for Operation “Defensive Shield Two” to begin in the coming days to “deal with the nests of terrorism in east Jerusalem,” shortly after a terrorist killed two civilians and wounded several others in a car-ramming attack.

On Friday, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem identified as Hossein Karaka rammed with his car and killed six-year-old Yaakov Israel Pally and 20-year-old Alter Lederman. An eight-year-old child was reportedly in critical condition and two additional persons in their 20s were reported to be moderately wounded.

Shortly after the attack, Israeli officials and security forces carried out a situation assessment, which led to Ben-Gvir urging that the counterterrorism Operation “Defensive Shield Two” launch on Sunday “to deal with the nests of terrorism in east Jerusalem.”

“The purpose of the operation is to fight and uproot terrorism, to reach the terrorists’ homes, and to stop terrorists before they carry out attacks,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement.

The original “Defensive Shield” operation was a 2002 Israeli military campaign in the West Bank, carried out amidst the Second Intifada and launched days after a Passover massacre in which a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 30 civilians and wounded 140 more at a hotel in northern Israel. Its stated goal was to stop the escalation of terror attacks and lasted for over a month.

But Maj. Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, a former military secretary to three Israeli defense ministers, told that what happened over 20 years ago cannot be compared to what happened on Friday.

Ben-Gvir and [Israeli Defense Minister Yoav] Gallant “have to be coordinated, and above them, there is the prime minister, and above all, there is the Security Cabinet,” he said. “Using the words ‘Defensive Shield Two’ is a mistake. You cannot compare one with the other. It was a mistake to go to the area (of the attack) and make such a statement.”

“It’s something that should be more serious,” Dangot continued. “Bring the army, the security services, sit with ministers. It’s something they have to calculate with global issues, what will be the direction of the United States, relations with Arab countries.”

“Stop all opportunities of risk for people in Jerusalem. Give heads of police a chance to convince you what to do. Don’t be in a hurry – hurry is an enemy.”

An unnamed senior Israeli official also told that “decisions about Defensive Shield… are not made on a sidewalk next to a bus at the scene of an attack. If there is such a decision, it will come after consultation with all the parties and after a cabinet discussion.”

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