(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
Right-wing MKs quickly tied Tuesday evening’s terror attacks to the beginning of the negotiations in Washington, with members of the National Union calling for talks to be frozen following the attack in which four Israelis were killed.
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“The terror attack near Kiryat Arba is a reminder to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who his partners are,” said MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union). “The Likud government’s negotiations with the terrorist Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) are an energy boost to murderousness and terror. The blood of those harmed is upon the head of the Likud government.”
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) called on Netanyahu to freeze the nascent negotiations slated to begin on Thursday in Washington. “Now it is clear – the most violent period is when there are negotiations. Netanyahu must immediately freeze the talks and concentrate on promising peace for Israeli civilians.”
Ariel’s fellow party member MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) joined the calls for Netanyahu to immediately return to Israel and freeze the talks with the Palestinians. “Everyone who in recent months was a partner to the myth that Abu Mazen controlled the field must come to their senses and immediately suspend the activities to strengthen the Palestinian army that is being established with American assistance,” said Eldad. “Such a body is not capable of effectively combating Hamas, and we should not be surprised if its weapons are directed against us.”
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, who is acting prime minister while Netanyahu is abroad, released a statement saying that he was in close contact with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and with Netanyahu's military attache and was constantly receiving updates.
"Unfortunately it has once again been proven that while we are working to find ways to advance peace and coexistence, there are those who will continue trying to commit acts of terror and murdering innocents," Shalom said. "Now it is clearer than ever that the real obstacles to peace are the terror and the extremists who would do anything to enflame the entire region. The PA must fulfill its obligations in the territories."
Within the coalition, ministers were much less willing to consider freezing the talks, despite the deadly attack. “I do not think that we need to give a prize to the murders not to hold talks,” said Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar. “As we see an Israeli hand extended to peace, we see a murderous response on the part of Palestinians.”
Among rank-and-file Likud MKs, many of whom have taken more right-wing
stands than those of the party’s ministers, the responses were more
ambiguous regarding the future of the talks. “The terror organizations
are passing on a clear message when they return to harming innocent
Israeli civilians,” said MK Tzipi Hotovelly (Likud), considered to be
one of the most right-wing members of Likud’s Knesset faction. “This is a
warning light to all those who believe that concessions of the Land of
Israel will lead to a solution to the conflict. In the face of terror,
one must respond with a strong hand without concessions.”
On the opposite side of the aisle, MK Ze’ev Bielski (Kadima) said in response that “this horrific and murderous attack that occurred tonight was an attempt to weaken the peace talks through terror. We are witnesses to a condemnable act of murder of innocents – and entire family. I am certain that the security forces will find the terrorists and will reach justice.”
“The peace talks must continue because in the end, there is no way other than through an agreement to prevent terror,” he concluded.