The Almagor terror victims association sent
Defense Minister Ehud Barak a letter on Sunday urging him to stop using
former minister Salah Tarif, who is a convicted felon, as his envoy to
the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world.
Ben Caspit revealed on Sunday that Barak has used Tarif as an emissary
to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders, despite his 2004
bribery conviction and a judge's ruling that Tarif cannot hold public
office until 2014.
Caspit wrote that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's associates see Tarif's involvement in the diplomatic issue as problematic.
In a letter that was also sent to Netanyahu, Attorney-General
Menahem Mazuz and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Almagor director Meir
Indor wrote Barak that it was especially problematic that Tarif was in
contact with "current and former terrorists."
"Such missions require clean hands, but Tarif has failed such tests in the past," Indor wrote in the letter.
Barak's associates responded by downplaying Tarif's role. They
said he was merely an adviser on Arab affairs to Barak in Labor and
that Barak had only given Tarif a role, because as the first Druse
minister, he is one of the strongest people in one of Labor's key
"The position is an
honorary one and has no substance," a Labor source said. "With all due
respect, Barak doesn't need Salah Tarif to get to Abu Mazen [Abbas]."
Tarif declined to confirm or deny any of the details in the report about him.
"Now that I am not in the Knesset, I don't have to answer to
anyone anymore," Tarif said. "I just do what my conscience tells me to