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Lawmakers: Goodwill Gestures Lead to Terror

Knesset lawmakers charged after Monday’s terror attack in Dimona that releasing PA terrorists as a "goodwill gesture" reaped war instead.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/4/2008, 3:53 PM

Israeli lawmakers Monday called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to end talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in the wake of a suicide bombing in Dimona that left one dead and more than 20 wounded.

Likud Knesset Member and former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said, “We must understand that all the good will gestures to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) help terrorists.”

Over the past 12 months, Israel has freed hundreds of PA terrorists prisoners in “good will gestures” to prop up Abbas’s government.

The director of the Almagor terror victims’ association said following Monday’s attack, “We shouldn’t be surprised if the perpetrators had previous criminal-terrorist records.  Perhaps after Olmert releases prisoners with blood on their hands and enjoys his photo-op with Gilad Shalit, he will also find the time to visit the bereaved families and promise them that Israel will arrest the terrorists yet again,” Meir Indoor said bitterly.

Indoor was referring to the prime minister’s decision Sunday to relax the criteria that determine which prisoners with “blood on their hands” are eligible for freedom in a prisoner swap deal with Hamas terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

General Security Services (Shabak) director Yuval Diskin warned Olmert in a meeting Sunday that releasing hard-core terrorists in exchange for Shalit would result in increased terror attacks.

Abbas responded to the bombing with a statement that condemned the attack, but also slammed the IDF for killing two armed terrorists near the PA-controlled city of Jenin. “The Authority condemns the attack [in Dimona] but also the IDF operation in which two Islamic Jihad members were killed,” said the statement.

Shas Chairman and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai called on the government to put security ahead of Israel’s negotiations with Abbas and stop the talks. Until now, Shas has supported Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s goodwill gestures towards the PA.

‘We Have to Guard Our Own Border’
Yishai also declared that the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in which Olmert was a Vice Premier, made a “mistake” in giving up the Philadephi route along Israel’s border with Gaza and Egypt.

“The government’s previous decision to abandon the Philadelphi Route without supervising forces was a serious mistake,” he said. “The southwest border of Israel and exposed and breached.” Terrorists have used the route for years to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza and Israel.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) said bluntly, “We have to guard our own border, without worrying about what anyone else thinks or does about it. Whether the Egyptians guard or don’t guard the border is not our problem. Our problem is our border and we have to protect it – sometimes by force if necessary.”

Meretz: Talk With Hamas
Left-wing Meretz party Knesset Member Ran Cohen claimed that the blast proved the need for the government to negotiate with Hamas.