MK Orit Struk of the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party called on the Israeli government to stop releasing Arab terrorist murderers from jail, following the terror attack Sunday on a bus in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv. The release of the murderers has been presented to the public as a “gesture” accompanying “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"The release of terrorists is the fuel on the fire of the terrorism that is returning to our streets,” MK Struk said. “I call on the government to stop the release of terrorists and bring back sanity, responsibility and security to Israel.”
Police Commissioner Lt.-Gen. Yohanan Danino also made a connection between the terror attack and the diplomatic process, although not necessarily in the same sense that Struk did. “The event in Bat Yam demonstrates that the terror threat is in the background, especially during these days in which an attempt is being made to advance the diplomatic negotiations,” he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Ofir Gendelsman, said on Twitter that the Bat Yam explosion apparently was indeed a terrorist act. “It seems that the bomb that blew up in a bus near Tel Aviv was in fact a terror attack,” he said.
Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich said that “At this point in time our impression and understanding is that this is a nationalistic act; I call on the public to show alertness and report to the police about any suspicious event.”
Earlier, a police spokesman confirmed that the bombing was a terror act.
Bus bombings were a recurrent nightmarish phenomenon in the the murderous terror war launched in 2000 that killed 1,178 Israelis by 2009, 70% of them civilians. There were over 20,000 attacks in that period, including 144 suicide bombings. The peak of the terror war was in 2002, and it had largely tapered off by 2005. Bus bombings were relatively rare in recent years. The latest such attack took place in Tel Aviv during the 2012 counterterror operation Pillar of Defense, launched by the IDF against Hamas in Gaza. Twenty-nine people were injured in that attack. The terrorist who planned the attack was recently killed by the IDF.
On March 23, 2011, a terror bomb planted near Jerusalem's Convention Center killed British tourist Mary Gardner and injured 67 others. The terrorist who planned that attack was sentenced to life in jail.