5 February 2006 — The New Dark Age
Likud chairman and prime minister hopeful Binyamin Netanyahu was joined by senior Likud MKs, Gideon Saar, Yuval Seinitz, Dan Naveh, Limor Livnat, Gilad Erdan, Yisrael Katz, Uzi Landau, and Silvan Shalom as well as 2 non MK Likud candidates, Natan Sharansky and Keren Barak on a tour of the security fence in the settlement of Beit Aryeh.
Speaking from the Ariel Sharon Observation Point overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport at Beit Aryeh, which also overlooks the entire coastal plain, from Ashkelon in the south to Hadera in the north, Netanyahu said, “We have to distance the fence from the range of missiles to defend Israel. There are those that think we are saying this just for election purposes. It has been my opinion consistently that drivers should be able to go on the roads without the threat of snipers.”
“From the Sharon Observation Point a plane can be downed. My government will move the fence backward so that Ben Gurion Airport will not be threatened and our deterrence will be restored,” said Netanyahu.
Despite recommendations from senior security officials to keep the hills surrounding Beit Aryeh in Israeli territory, a Supreme Court ruling determined that the hills surrounding the settlement would remain on the Palestinian side of the security fence at a distance of some four kilometers.
Netanyahu also took a swipe at the Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government’s decision to release funds to the Palestinian Authority, now headed by Hamas. (The Cabinet on Sunday agreed to transfer about NIS 240 million owed to the Palestinians, after delaying the payment last week.
Likud Chairman and prime minister hopeful Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the decision, saying, “We are trying to create international pressure against Hamas – so every shekel we give to a Hamas-led government is unexplainable.”
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer indicated Saturday he would advise the government to transfer the funds.
“I generally prefer to abide by agreements I’ve signed,” Fischer said in an Israel Radio interview. “So that is at least one rationale for transferring the money. There are all kinds of other rationales, but that is my starting point.”
Under the 1995 Israel-PA interim agreements, Jerusalem is to transfer to the PA each month the customs and tax revenues it collects at the ports and crossing points on behalf of the PA.
“We are trying to create international pressure against Hamas – so every shekel we give to a Hamas-led government is unexplainable,” said Natanyahu.
Former foreign minister Silvan Shalom reiterated Netanyahu’s position by saying, “It’s depressing that despite terror, the government is acting as if nothing has happened, and in a scandalous decision is giving the Hamas money at a time when the world is stopping the flow of money to the PA. How can we expect the world crack down on Hamas when we’re not?”
The IDF and the Shin Bet are said to have come out in favour of transferring the money as well, because of concerns that leaving so many people (and families) without salaries would plunge the Palestinian areas deeper into chaos and anarchy. Both Egypt and the US have also urged Israel to transfer the money, at least during the period of a transitional government inside the PA.
E. Teague mailto:email@example.com