The mayor of Tel Aviv blamed the terror attack that killed four Israelis on the occupation of Palestinian lands.
Hours after two gunmen opened fire in a chic shopping district, Mayor Ron Huldai said the Jewish state’s half-century rule over Palestinians was fueling the violence.
“You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright,” Huldai told the Jerusalem Post.
The mayor was joined by Israeli Arab lawmakers in a plea for peace after the deadly attack.
They said civilians “on both sides” should be removed from the conflict and denounced the possibility that Israel will embark on a retaliatory campaign of collective punishment.
Even when asked about reports that West Bank Palestinians celebrated the murders, Huldai refused to take the bait. He insisted that the occupation, which he said “I know and I was a part of,” was the real culprit.
“Leaders need courage to not just talk,” Huldai said.
Israel’s right-wing government ministers wasted no time in lashing out at Huldai and other leftists, insisting that he was whitewashing terror. Deputy Defense minister Eli Ben-Dahan said Arabs were terrorizing Jews in the Holy Land even before the state of Israel was established, let alone when it seized the West Bank.
“They are the delusional ones,” Ben-Dahan said.