Dichter: Egypt giving Hamas legitimacy

Criticizes Cairo, gov't for Gaza situation; PM slams Barak for not attending Security Cabinet meeting.

Kassams burn 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Kassams burn 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter on Wednesday criticized both Israel and Egypt for their handling of the situation in the Gaza Strip. "A problematic, terror state has risen which is built on the Hizbullah model," said Dichter during a Security Cabinet meeting. "There is ongoing weapons smuggling of worrying quantity and quality from Egypt and this terror state is getting legitimacy from Egypt and maybe even more than that," he added. The public security minister reported that since the start of the year, 900 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel. Turning to the government he asked: "Does the government want to push back the wheel of terror or stop it?" During the meeting, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i reported that Israel was transferring fuel to the Gaza Strip but that the Palestinians were not picking it up at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. "Israel is transferring goods to the Gaza Strip to avoid a humanitarian crisis there," he said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert raised the issue of Hamas's attempts to reach a truce but said it wasn't appropriate to expand on the issue since Defense Minister Ehud Barak was not present. Olmert criticized Barak's absence. "It would have been fitting for him to take part in a ministerial discussion about security issues," he said. Barak was at a Golani Brigade training exercise in the Golan. At the end of the drill, Barak told the soldiers: "My gut feeling is to respond immediately and with all our strength to every attack from the Gaza Strip." "However," he continued, "We must act with the proper judgment and at the correct time." "Out hearts are in the South with residents of the Gaza belt," added the defense minister.