Dudi Amsalem
Dudi AmsalemEsti Dzubov/TPS

MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud), former chairman of the Knesset's Interior Committee, reacted to the escape of six high-profile terrorists from an Israeli prison on Monday.

MK Amsalem told Arutz Sheva that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has had serious systemic problems and failures for years which successive governments have failed to address.

"When I was chairman of the Interior Committee, I toured the prisons several times, but mainly with civilian and not with security officials," Amsalem says.

"Being an IPS employee is a complex and difficult job," he says, stating that "all in all, since the escape, a great deal has been done about the IPS. These are people who are doing sacred work."

Amsalem reiterates that he believes it is more difficult to keep a terrorist behind bars for decades than it is to capture him in the first place. "The one who gives the instructions regarding how to deal with them is both the Shin Bet and the army, so it is a more complex business. There is something here that does not start in this government," he says. "The security prisoners conduct themselves in a practical way. In my reserve service in Gaza, I saw in one of the facilities how things happen and that was when another army force was in charge of them."

According to Amsalem, the reality is that the government, the Shin Bet, and the defense establishment allow terrorists to conduct their own lives in prison with little to no interference. "Until about a decade ago, the army was the guardian of them and managed the security prisons, and that is how it should be, but the army is very happy to transfer the problem to the IPS and roll it out. his is a difficult and uninteresting task, but the one who is supposed to guard them is the army and the defense establishment. It is this system that gives the guidelines and it is the one that understands the consequences of every action."

He says it is the government's responsibility that security prisoners have the power to make demands and to create violence in the prisons if those demands are not met. "It is a question of policy. It is a decision made by generations of prime minister. This silence was comfortable but it is absurd that terrorists run themselves. If they burn the cells, they will burn, and if they fire from Gaza we will return them and take care of them. They cannot slaughter us with these threats."

According to Amsalem, the current government, which he dubs the "Jewish-Palestinian government," is unable to del with the problem because of its makeup.

"Walid Taha is the chairman of the Interior Committee. The whole country is looking for these terrorists but what does he want to happen? What does Mansour Abbas want? After all, Walid Taha calls them freedom fighters and the IDF soldiers he calls terrorists. It is he whose fingers hold the Israeli government.

"Walid Taha will enter the Interior Committee, on what? He will enter the committee and ask what are you suddenly passing on to the terrorists? After all, he cares about his guys. He is happy that these terrorists escaped. We heard Ayman Odeh and the Communist Party. Someone thought they would not support them. This is absurd. The State of Israel cannot form a government with an anti-Zionist Arab party, which by definition wants to eliminate the State of Israel, which sees everything as the opposite of us."

Amsalem rejects the repeated statement that Netanyahu was also close to a political deal with Mansour Abbas. "This is a lie. We talked to Mansour Abbas only about the direct election for prime minister without dissolving the Knesset, but this claim is unrelated. It is not acceptable. Even if Netanyahu wanted it, it would not have stood and I said it to Mansour Abbas himself. This is nonsense and lies that the left repeats all the time, they produce a balloon that is a fiction."

Amsalem accused the members of the United Arab List, the Arab party in the government, of “wanting to let [the escaped terrorists] light a beacon and continue to pass salaries to their families. Mansour Abbas and Walid Taha see them as heroes and you put them in the government and give them NIS 53 billion just to be prime minister? I have to pinch myself to believe it's real, and that the ones who did it are are Bennett, Sa'ar and Elkin."