New York City Mayor Michel Bloomberg said Friday that Israel should not negotiate with Palestinian organizations who do abide by the three conditions set by the Quartet. "If [certain organizations] don't renounce terrorism, if they don't agree to abide by previous accords and if they don't recognize Israel, then I personally don't think Israel should speak with them," said Bloomberg during a visit to Sderot.
Bloomberg gift will transform J'lem MDA station
The American mayor met with Sderot counterpart Eli Moyal, saying that the residents of the western Negev town had a right to live peacefully but "unfortunately on the other side of the border people are firing rockets and these rockets kill."
He added that peace must be pursued "so that we don't lose more children."
At the police station, Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of the Bloomberg L.P. financial information company, was shown a display of rockets that hit the city. He also met with the father of Ayala Abukasis, a 17-year-old girl who was killed two years ago in a rocket attack on the city.
"I have two daughters, and I can't imagine," Bloomberg told Yonatan Abukasis as the mayor translated for him.
"Thank you for coming," Abukasis replied.
The youth center the mayor visited was dedicated to the dead girl. There, he helped to plant a tree in her memory, helping to hoist the tree upright and shoveling dirt into the base.
"Sadly, there are people just on the other side of that valley who shoot missiles at (the people of Sderot) and these missiles kill," Bloomberg said. "And I think this town, as much as any place you'll ever visit, tells you why we can never negotiate with terrorists."
Asked if he was afraid to come to Sderot, Bloomberg replied, "I'm not afraid of terrorists."
David Fendel, a Sderot resident originally from Long Island, criticized US President George W. Bush's request that Congress give $86 million to security forces loyal to the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
"It's up to the State Department to decide," Bloomberg said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday Bloomberg announced that Jerusalem's main ambulance center and blood bank will be renovated, expanded, and renamed the William H. Bloomberg Magen David Adom Station after his late father.