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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Politicians from the right on Tuesday morning blamed government policy for Monday's terror attack, which claimed the life of Ido Zoldan, 29.
"The prime minister is indulging in delusions in going to the Annapolis conference during a difficult hour on the battlefield," MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said. "The prime minister's concessions are the cause of such terror attacks."
"The murder is an ill omen of what awaits all of us following the release of hundreds of terrorists, which the government decided upon," MK Uri Ariel (NU\NRP) said. "The government illustrates how [making] gestures to the Palestinians is a reckless and irresponsible measure."
The Committee of Rabbis of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday also blamed the government for Zoldan's death.
"The Israeli government and all of its ministers bear responsibility for the murder of the holy man Ido Zoldan. The Arab enemy understands only force and dedication such as those possessed by Zoldan and his pioneering companions. And not the weakness and submissiveness of the Israeli government," the committee's statement said.
Israel Radio quoted a statement released by the Homesh First group in which the organization writes that "releasing terrorists and arming them prepared the ground for the attack." Zolten, who was amongst those uprooted from Homesh during the 2005 disengagement, was a central member of the organization which advocates a return to the settlement and has organized several clandestine marches to its ruins.
Meanwhile, MK Efi Eitam (NU/NRP) congratulated Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi for not having "tainted the IDF with the release of murderers," referring to Ashkenazi's reported objection to Monday's cabinet decision to free Palestinian prisoners ahead of next week's Annapolis summit.
Eitam added that the consequences of the decision could be seen "this morning," in the attack that claimed the life of Zoldan. Eitam spoke at the beginning of the weekly gathering of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), also present at the meeting, responded immediately to Eitam. "There is no need to put the words of the extreme right in the mouth of the Chief of Staff. I advise against holding a press conference here," he said. Turning to Ashkenazi, he added: "I suggest we see if these MKs will address you in the same manner when the IDF evacuates settlements."
On Monday some reports stated that Ashkenazi was opposed to a prisoner release, but later clarifications revealed that Ashkenazi's opposition was not to the move in principle, but only to the release of 16 Fatah detainees destined to return to their homes in the Gaza Strip. Ashkenazi reportedly believed such a move would not help strengthen Abbas, as Fatah no longer controls the Gaza Strip.
"On the whole I am not against prisoner releases, Ashkenazi said."I am against them in the current situation when we are releasing prisoners to Gaza at a time when Schalit is still there and the Hamas is in power."
Ashkenazi assessed that there would not be a third Intifada if Annapolis failed. Palestinians, he said, were dealing with daily threats and did not appear to be organizing themselves for armed struggle.
MK Haim Oron (Meretz) called for a continued dialogue with the Palestinians, despite the terror attack. "On numerous occasions the struggle with the Palestinians has given rise to terror against us," he said. "But we must continue to hold dialogue with the moderate Palestinians."
Sheera Claire Frenkel contributed to this report.
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