European diplomats tell Israel not to raze attackers' homes

Italy, France, Germany, UK, Spain warn against retaliation

21 November, 10:53

    (by Massimo Lomonaco) (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 21 - The ambassadors of the European Union's five largest countries have warned the Israeli government against destroying the homes of Palestinians responsible for recent attacks in Jerusalem. Diplomats from Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain gathered Thursday night at the Israeli foreign ministry to say the reprisals were not only useless, but "counterproductive" for Israel, fueling greater tensions, Italian embassy sources told ANSA, confirming a report by the Israel's Haaretz. On Wednesday, the day after two Palestinian men armed with guns and butcher knives killed four rabbis and a police officer in a Jerusalem synagogue before being shot dead, the Israeli army demolished the home of a man held responsible for a separate attack that cost the lives of a woman and a baby last month. In keeping with a policy announced by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli army on Thursday launched procedures to demolish the homes of the two synagogue attackers.

    Following a day of apparent calm, tensions on the ground prompted Israel to call a state of alert. Israeli Defence Minister Moshè Yaalon along with other defence and police officials have warned Netanyahu not to deploy troops in East Jerusalem in response to the alarm but, if anything, to increase in the use of border agents, Haaretz reported. The officials warned that retaliatory measures could embroil the army in violent clashes with demonstrators. On Friday, the day of prayer, Muslim worshippers in Jerusalem were granted free access without age restrictions to the Temple Mount. Meanwhile, on the West Bank, Hamas declared yet another "day of rage". Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni called his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman to express Italy's solidarity with Israel "for the despicable terrorist attack" on the synagogue, while stressing "the importance of preserving the status quo in the holy places of Jerusalem in order to prevent the conflict from taking on a religious character".(ANSAmed).

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