Dichter to give security advice in US
Internal Security Minister repeats call to give Golan back to Syria for peace.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
October 15, 2006 00:21
3 minute read.
avi dichter 298 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter will leave on Sunday for an official visit to the United States, during which he will meet with top law enforcement officials to share his know-how in homeland security and counter-terrorism.
On the eve of his departure, Dichter spoke to The Jerusalem Post about what he believes the US can learn from Israel on fighting terrorism, his belief that Israel should give up the Golan Heights in a peace treaty with Syria and the prospects of Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman heading a ministry charged with managing the Iranian threat.
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"Israel is a laboratory for learning how to defend citizens because we face threats every day," Dichter said. "The US doesn't have to pay with American blood. They can learn from what we have learned here."
According to Dichter, cooperation with the US on counter-terrorism has increased significantly since September 11, 2001.
Dichter is scheduled to address an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Boston on a panel with US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzalez and FBI director Robert Mueller.
He will also meet in Washington with Mueller, US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, National Security Adviser Steve Hadley, Drug Enforcement Agency administrator Karen Tandy and Frances Townsend, the homeland security adviser to US President George W. Bush.
On the Syrian issue, Dichter endorsed the American view that to become a peace partner, Syria must first stop hosting terrorists that target Israel, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and American forces in Iraq.
Dichter said his dovish views on Syria have not changed after recent comments by Syrian President Bashar Assad about destroying Israel.
"One day, when we sign a peace treaty with Syria, it won't be different from our peace treaty with Egypt and that means giving up the Golan Heights," Dichter said.
Dichter will not be bringing with him any messages from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but said he was prepared to answer questions about Olmert's intention to create an Iranian strategy ministry under Lieberman, who five years ago called for bombing Teheran.
"When people reach positions of responsibility, they tend to change," Dichter said of Lieberman.
Dichter is no stranger to the US political circuit. Prior to hitting the campaign trail as a Kadima Party candidate, the former Shin Bet head spent nine months in Washington as a fellow at the Brookings Institute's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He is scheduled to address the Brookings Forum during his trip.
Dichter's official US tour, his first since becoming minister, will begin at the IACP conference, where he will address the conference's projected 10,000 attendees.
An Internal Security Ministry spokesman said Saturday: "The invitation to speak at the conference indicates the special respect that the minister has garnered from the international law enforcement community."
Labor MK Ami Ayalon, who like Dichter is a former head of the Shin Bet, will also address the conference.
While Dichter will be called upon to discuss his work in the field of homeland security, Internal Security Ministry officials said that he would also discuss cooperation between Israeli and American law enforcement organizations in database-sharing as well as in the fields of organized crime and drug trafficking.
After Boston, Dichter, ministry director-general Ronny Falk and Israel Police's US representative, Cmdr. Mickey Levy, are expected to travel to the nation's capital to meet with government leaders from the White House and Congress as well as American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) heads.
Dichter is scheduled to meet with US Marshals director John Clark, and is expected to discuss with him cooperation in witness protection programs. This has been a sensitive issue for Israeli law enforcement, as the geographical limitations of Israel have made it very difficult to offer witnesses - particularly those testifying against organized crime syndicates - protection.
Dichter's tour will end in New York, where he will meet with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to learn about crime fighting, and with Jewish leaders.