Netanyahu: Abbas Needs to Denounce Massacre in Arabic
Prime Minister not satisfied with Abbas's Hebrew statement on Israeli radio. Pro-PA Knesset member denounces Itamar murderers.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/14/2011, 7:19 PM / Last Update: 3/14/2011, 7:35 PM
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas needs to denounce the massacre in Itamar when his own people are listening, and not just on an Hebrew-language radio station.
Abbas denounced on Monday the massacre of the Fogel family, in an interview on Voice of Israel state-owned radio. MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al), who is closely linked to the PA leadership, also denounced the murders. The denouncements, which came more than 48 hours after the slayings were reported, are seen as an attempt by the PA to control the damage its political position has suffered following the heinous crime.
"I heard [Abbas] denouncing the murder at Itamar this morning on the Voice of Israel," Netanyahu said at a Likud faction session. "There is importance in what he said. In my eyes - what is more important, and this is what I meant - that he should say these things on Palestinian radio and not just on Israeli radio."
Netanyahu noted that at about the same time that Abbas denounced the massacre, one of his ministers was heard saying that the murders may have been carried out by "the settlers and the Government of Israel."
"We demand once again a clear moral line that distinguishes such crimes against people and against babies," Netanyahu explained. He added that some of the denouncements issued by other nations were "cold" and "technical."
Speaking at the Knesset plenum, MK Tibi said the murderer was "a coward and not a hero."
"The murderer shames his nation," he said. "What did that criminal think when he looked a three-month-old baby in the eye and stabbed her?" Tibi ended his speech by reading out the names of the victims of the massacre.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) interrupted Tibi's speech. "You have no right to speak in the Knesset today," he said. "One week ago you called [the terrorists] freedom fighters and today you are pretending to denounce [them]?"
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin ordered Ben-Ari taken out of the plenum.