Netanyahu calls for restraint amid escalating violence

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for restraint amid growing calls from the right-wing groups to revenge the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens last month.

Jerusalem: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for restraint amid growing calls from the right-wing groups to revenge the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens last month.

"I appeal to all the citizens of Israel and ask you: Please exercise restraint in your actions and words. Our hearts ache, our blood boils, but we must remember that we are, first and foremost, human beings and we are citizens of a law-abiding country," Netanyahu said.

"We are making decisions in a responsible, cool-headed and considered manner," he said.

His remarks came following the death of a young Palestinian boy in a suspected "revenge" attack by right-wing extremists as Israel moved troops to its border with Gaza.

During his remarks at the American Independence Day celebration at US Ambassador Dan Shapiro`s house here today, Netanyahu also condemned the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeiron.

Khdeiron`s body was found in the Jerusalem forest on Wednesday. The premier also vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the murder.

"I unequivocally condemn the murder of a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem a few days ago," he said.

"The police investigation is ongoing. We don`t know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators but we will. We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime, whoever they may be," he said.

He said murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism had no place in Israeli democracy, adding that it is the democratic values that differentiate Israel from its neighbours and unites it with the US.

The secret to the special US-Israel relationship can be summarised in four words - "shared values, common interests," he said.

"In both our lands, the rights of the individual are sacred, and the foremost right, without which the others cannot exist, is the right to live. And that is why we pursued the murders of Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali. They denied them that basic right in such a cruel way," he said.

Meanwhile, as violence continued to escalate between Israel and Gaza-based militants who fired rockets and mortars in Israel`s southern areas, Netanyahu said that his country was prepared for two possibilities.

First that the rocket fire on Israel would stop, and as a result Israel`s counter-attacks would also stop.

And second that the fire continued, in which cases the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), which on yesterday reinforced its presence near the border with the Gaza Strip, "would act with full strength".

Speaking at the event, Israel`s President Shimon Peres also urged restraint, calling both Israelis and Palestinians to "respect the law" and "avoid incitement".

"We weren`t born to hate," said the Nobel laureate President.

"A few days ago we all behaved as one, with dignity. Even during our sorrow we called together for restraint. People who are engaged in incitement are not always aware where it can lead, to more sorrow, to more dangers", he said.

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