Netanyahu warns of missile dangers to airport

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 6, 2006 00:10
2 minute read.

 
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Ben-Gurion International Airport and the planes that take off from there will be in danger of missile fire if Kadima is elected and decides to make the current route of the security fence Israel's border, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu warned on a tour of the Samarian hills overlooking the airport on Sunday. Accompanied by Likud MKs Silvan Shalom, Gideon Sa'ar, Yuval Steinitz, Dan Naveh, Limor Livnat, Gilad Erdan, Yisrael Katz and Uzi Landau, Netanyahu visited two strategic hilltops outside the settlements of Beit Aryeh and Ofarim that overlook the airport and the Gush Dan region. The observation point outside Beit Aryeh is named after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who brought countless groups of American congressmen and international dignitaries to the site to emphasize its strategic value. The observation point overlooks the entire coastal plain, from Ashkelon in the south to Hadera in the north. Beit Aryeh, which is just outside the Green Line, was included inside the fence. Security officials had wanted the hilltops outside Beit Aryeh included inside the fence as well, but the Supreme Court forced the fence to be rerouted to exclude two small Arab towns named Rantis and Luban that together have less than 4,000 inhabitants. "From the Sharon Observation Point a plane can be downed," Netanyahu said. "My government, a Likud government, will move the fence backward so that Ben-Gurion Airport will not be threatened and our deterrence will be restored." Netanyahu rejected criticism from Likud officials who have accused him of using "scare tactics" to frighten voters from Kadima to the Likud. He toured hilltops overlooking the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway last week and he intends to visit other strategic locations ahead of the March 28 election. "Those who think we are saying this just for election purposes are wrong," Netanyahu said. "It has been my opinion consistently that drivers should be able to drive on the roads without the threat of snipers." Livnat, who has been accused of abandoning the Likud campaign, returned to Israel and took part in the tour. She warned that "a wave of terrorist attacks are on the way" and said that Sunday's terrorist attack in Petah Tikva "should reawaken the voters." The head of the Likud's strategic team, MK Yuval Steinitz, who organized the tour, said that Kassam rockets would fall on the center of the country if the security fence would not be moved to include the hilltops outside Beit Aryeh. "According to our approach to security, these hills are included in the minimum that Israel must maintain for defensible borders," Steinitz said. "If there's a place that Hamasistan cannot be allowed to reach, it's here." A Kadima spokesman said in response that "Bibi has remained the same Bibi, trying to sow panic when he is under pressure. The state of Israel is strong, and with wide international support, will know how to handle terror with deeds and not with words like Bibi." Meanwhile, the Likud will begin a new campaign on Monday attacking Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with strong language for the cabinet's decision on Sunday to transfer the money to the PA. Ads will run in the Hebrew press under the banner "Hamas celebrating at Olmert's expense" The ad says that Olmert is inexperienced, lacks confidence, that Hamas is exploiting his weakness and Israel is paying the price.

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