Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised on Wednesday to prevent Tuesday’s drive-by shooting deaths of four people from being the first of multiple terrorist attacks.
Speaking at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast for Labor Party activists, Barak said that after Labor succeeded in bringing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the negotiating table, he would not allow terrorists to derail the talks.
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“We will not allow the incident to turn into a wave of attacks,” Barak said. “We will do everything possible to make sure that the perpetrators will be punished and their efforts to derail the talks in Washington won’t succeed. We won’t concede the fight against terror.”
Barak and other Labor ministers used Thursday’s summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to justify the party’s controversial decision to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government. But Labor MKs who opposed joining the government were conspicuously absent at the toast.
“There wouldn’t be talks in Washington had we not joined the coalition and a narrow right-wing government been formed,” Barak said. “We won’t let this supreme opportunity fall through our hands. The silent majority wants to maintain security but is willing to go very far to achieve peace in this generation and bring about two states for two peoples.”
Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer went farther, saying, “there was no decision more correct than Ehud’s to enter the government,” and “we won’t let those animals achieve their goal of destroying the peace process before it began.”
Ben-Eliezer and other speakers at the event pleaded for unity in the divided party.
“People ask me why we try to shoot ourselves in the foot, why we try to kill ourselves,” Ben-Eliezer said. “I say there is no party like this. Many parties have adopted the views of Labor. I say let’s keep this party going.”
Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog urged Labor activists to show support to Netanyahu in his talks in Washington, which he said would be fateful for the people of Israel.
At a rally of World Likud activists in Ariel, the chairman of World Likud, MK Danny Danon, blamed the terrorist attack on Barak. He said the defense minister ordered the IDF to downgrade its operations in the West Bank to make sure the summit would take place.
“I say to the defense minister, go back to your main job, which is not to pursue the settlers but to defend Israel. And if he won’t do that, I call upon the prime minister to fire him,” Danon said.
Danon apologized to the activists for the freeze, saying “the Likud made
a mistake with the freeze, but we will make it up to you by maintaining
the Land of Israel.”
Beit Aryeh Regional Council head Avi Naim vowed in his speech at the
event that US President Barack “Obama will soon go, but the people of
Israel will stay here in the Land of Israel.”
A New Wave poll broadcast on Channel 10 Wednesday night found that 38.6
percent of Israelis think the government should be building everywhere
in Judea and Samaria, 25.1% say construction should be limited to
settlement blocs, while 20% believe there should not be any West Bank
Asked whether Netanyahu was serious about reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, 50.5% said yes and 30.4% said no.