The head of Israel's internal security service has criticised Jewish settler groups for carrying out "terror attacks" against Palestinian and Israeli targets. Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen told a meeting of Israeli diplomats on Monday that the acts and statements of extremist settlers don't differ much from those of activists in a "terrorist organisation". His officers, therefore, regard such Jews as terror suspects and treat them as such.
Mr Cohen's statements stirred up debate among the Israeli ambassadors at the annual conference as they contradict those of Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister had said that he has rejected the recommendations of his Justice and Internal Security Ministers to define such Jewish groups as "terror organizations".
The deputy commander of an Israeli army base vandalised by settlers more than two weeks ago said that the acts perpetrated by extremist settlers are dangerous and are dealt with strictly. He added that they have been placed at the top of the Israeli security forces' priorities, as per political instructions.
On the same issue, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch expressed his shock following the release of images on the internet by extremist Jewish groups which depict the Jerusalem District Police Commander as Adolf Hitler. Aharonovitch described this as "despicable".