Defense Minister Avidgdor Liberman said Wednesday that he had ordered his office to examine the possibility of recognizing an illegal West Bank settlement outpost after one of its residents was slain by terrorists in a drive-by shooting attack the night before.
Right-wing ministers and lawmakers demanded the legalization of Havat Gilad, the outpost where 35-year-old father of six Rabbi Raziel Shevach lived.
Shevach was shot dead Tuesday night as he was driving in his car on the highway near his home. The perpetrators fled the scene and have not yet been caught.
“Security forces are pursuing the terrorists who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, may God avenge his blood,” Liberman said in a statement. “I feel the pain and sorrow of his wife Yael and his six children. I have instructed the heads of the Defense Ministry to assist the family and the residents of Havat Gilad.
“I have also ordered an examination of the possibility of legalizing Havat Gilad and making it a community among the other [settlement communities] in Judea and Samaria,” he added, using the biblical term for the West Bank.
Havat Gilad was established in 2002 in memory of Gilad Zar, security coordinator of the Shomron Regional Council, who was shot dead in an attack a year earlier.
Earlier, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the religious right-wing Jewish Home party, demanded the legalization of the outpost, saying settlement expansion should become a standard response to Palestinian terrorism.
“The terrorists who set out to murder Rabbi Raziel Shevach, may God avenge his blood, were familiar with the Palestinian Authority’s ‘terror price-list,’ and knew perfectly well what price [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas would pay them for the despicable murder,” Bennett said, referring to the stipends the PA pays out to terrorists and their families.
“If the State of Israel wants to eliminate the Palestinian murder industry and deter the next potential terrorist, it is not enough to lay our hands on the murderers,” he added in a statement. “We should be clear: From now on, every murder will be immediately answered with construction and settlement, which they are trying to uproot. Legalizing and building up Havat Gilad is the most painful and the most deterrent toll we can exact from the accursed terrorists to prevent the next murder.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of Bennett’s Jewish Home party, expressed similar sentiments. “The murder of Raziel Shevach, may God avenge his blood, will not be left without a response,” she vowed. “Our answer will be to legalize the community of Havat Gilad.
“Simultaneously, it is important to approve construction throughout Judea and Samaria,” Shaked added. “They wish to uproot, we will build. The Palestinian Authority encourages and funds terrorists; we will make life bloom. The Palestinians will understand that murder of Israelis also hurts them.”