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PM praises security forces, vigilant citizens for Bat Yam bomb response
By GIL HOFFMAN
23/12/2013
Netanyahu notes the growing trend in terror attempts in the past year; Right calls for stopping diplomatic process.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lauded security forces on Monday for their efforts in dealing with a bomb that exploded Sunday on a bus in Bat Yam.

Speaking at a Likud faction meeting before Monday night’s stabbing attack north of Jerusalem, Netanyahu said the IDF had succeeded in stopping 150 serious terrorist attacks in the past year, an average of more than one every other day.

Netanyahu met on Monday with bus driver Michael Yuger and passenger David Pappo, both of whom helped to prevent casualties after discovering the explosive device on the Bat Yam bus. He praised the two men for their alertness and quick thinking.

“Everything teaches us lessons,” he said. “The most important thing is to keep our eyes open.”

While Netanyahu did not connect the attack to the ongoing diplomatic talks with the Palestinians, both right-wing and leftwing MKs did. The Right called for an end to the talks while the Left said the negotiations should be enhanced.

“We are continuing the diplomatic process as if there is no terror, and the Palestinians are continuing the terror as if there is no diplomatic process,” said Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett. “The claim that the Palestinian Authority is not connected to attacks blows up in our face daily.”

That claim was made on Sunday by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator, in a speech at an event hosted by the Movement for Quality Government.

“Those who tried to harm us today are not those with whom we are conducting or will conduct negotiations,” she said. “We will not allow criminal terrorists to determine Israel’s future. Israel continues to act against terrorism and in this case too, if it is indeed terrorism like it appears, we will do what needs to be done.”

Likud MK Moshe Feiglin responded that “Livni can continue fooling herself, but the Palestinian terrorists and negotiators have the same goal: Eradicating the Jewish state from the Land of Israel.”

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said Israel should respond to the attacks by canceling plans to release 26 Palestinian murderers in the coming days.

Danon said that “in a normal country if a bus explodes on Sunday and a policeman gets stabbed on Monday, terrorists are not released from prison a few days later.”

Labor MKs said however that Israel must not provide a victory to the terrorists, who the legislators said do not want a peace agreement establishing a Palestinian state.

“There are those trying with full force to stop the path to two states for two peoples, and we have to do what we can to make sure we stay on track,” opposition leader Isaac Herzog told the Labor faction.

Reenat Sinay contributed to this report.
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