Netanyahu Backtracks on Comparison between Tel Aviv Protests and Huwara Rampage
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backpedaled from the comparison he had made between the protests that occurred in Tel Aviv and the settler riots that took place in Huwara.
The protests had been carried about against his government’s plans of curbing the authority of the judiciary, while the rampage in the Palestinian town had been in response to a terror attack.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement that as opposed to what the media was claiming, the only comparison that the premier had made between the protests and Huwara was that it was not permitted for people to take the law in their own hands.
The comparison had been made by Netanyahu in a live statement that had been made during the primetime evening broadcasts from his office on Wednesday evening.
Protests throughout the country became increasingly hostile on Wednesday, which resulted in about 11 injuries and 50 arrests due to clashes between the people and police.
The cops used aggressive measures for dealing with demonstrators in Tel Aviv who were attempting to block the Ayalon Highway, which was a first for these protests that have been happening every weekend.
The Huwara incident
On Sunday, the Palestinian town of Huwara had seen radical settlers rampage in retribution, as they burned cars, homes and stores and also assaulted the Palestinian residents.
Netanyahu had spoken out against the violence in Tel Aviv and Huwara alike. He had asserted that the demonstrators had crossed the line in both situations and this would not be tolerated.
He had defined this as anarchy and violence. After his statement on Thursday, Benny Gantz, the leader of the National Unity party, told the prime minister to apologize.
He said that rather than trying to lie and backtrack, Netanyahu should issue an apology to the protestors because it was a criminal comparison and had supported terror.
After Netanyahu’s speech, a number of opposition leaders had expressed their outrage and Gantz was one of them.
Gantz said that blocking roads was completely different from rampaging in a town, setting it on fire, killing someone and carrying on with the chaos after taking a break for evening prayer.
Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, had called Netanyahu’s remarks shocking. He said that the statement was a terrible one because it was deepening the dispute.
Lapid went on to say that what happened in Huwara was the work of terrorists and it could not be compared to people going out on the streets for protesting.
He said that those who were turning up for the protests were some of the best ones in the country because they were true patriots.
The comparison also did not sit well with Merav Michaeli, the chief of the Labor party. She said that it was a comparison between anarchists who burned homes and patriots who are fighting for democracy.