Photo: Reuters
Funerals in Shfaram
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Ata Awisat
Bishara: Shin Bet had good reasons to refrain from thwarting attack
Photo: Ata Awisat
Photo: Gabi Menashe
Pines-Paz: Terror attack traumatic for both Jews and Arabs
Photo: Gabi Menashe

‘Israel knew about attack’

Several-Arab Israeli leaders hint security officials were aware of plan to target Shfaram bus. Knesset Member Azmi Bishara: General Security Service had good reason to refrain from thwarting terror attack. Victims’ relatives: We’ll continue to believe in coexistence

Several Arab-Israeli leaders have hinted Saturday that Israel was aware of the plan to target the bus in Shfaram but security officials failed to act on the information.


The harsh accusations were made during a meeting of the Arab-Israeli Supreme Monitoring Committee called to discuss Thursday’s terror attack.


Participants at the session also had harsh words against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and the General Security Service. Knesset Member Azmi Bishara said: “The Shin Bet had good reasons to refrain from thwarting the terror attack, which serves Sharon’s interests.”


The Islamic Movement’s southern branch leader, Ibrahim Sarsur, said: “Just like they act against Palestinian ‘ticking bombs’ they should act against Jewish ticking bombs.”


Mass protest planned


The session, attended by Arab Knesset Members, Islamic Movement leaders, and local authority heads, began with a moment of silence in honor of the four victims.


The attack did not come as a surprise, Monitoring Committee Chairman Shawki Khatib said during the meeting.


“It’s a terror act and the victims are martyrs. I asked the prime minister (to ensure) the settlers’ weapons are not directed at us.”


Most speakers, however, called for a non-violent response to the attack and agreed to hold a demonstration to be attended by all Arab factions. The mass protest is expected to take place next week, probably in Shfaram.


צילום: חגי אהרון

The Committee also decided to draft a document to be sent to the United Nations, describing Israel’s discriminatory actions against its Arab resident.


Knesset member Wasil Taha (National Democratic Assembly) has asked the U.N. for international protection against Jewish terror.


In addition, the committee decided to send the government a letter requesting it alter its attitude towards the Arab sector.


During the session, Sheikh Raed Salah, who heads the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, called on Israeli-Arabs to come to the Temple Mount next Sunday in order to “defend the al-Aqsa mosque.”


According to Salah, pullout objectors are planning to hold a rally at the Temple Mount the same day.


Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash-Ta`al) warned that protests would be organized should the police decide to launch an investigation into the death of Shfaram terrorist Eden Zada.


Barakeh said those responsible for killing Zada, did so to prevent him from harming any more residents.


In the meantime, MK Raleb Majadele, the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee chairman, is set to call for an emergency meeting of the committee Sunday.


Offering condolences


Meanwhile, several public figures paid their respects to the local residents of Shfaram.


Vice Premier Shimon Peres visited the three bereaved families and met with Shfaram’s mayor.


Following his visit, Peres said, “the movement of all potential suicide bombers - Jews and Arabs - must be limited by issuing administrative injunctions against them.”


“The city of Shfaram is hurting and crying over the loss of its dear ones, and with it, all of Israel, “ he said. “Great hope of coexistence radiates from the city.


“Shfaram’s leadership has proven maturity and restraint. The city has proven that no suicide bomber will stop coexistence and desire of Jews and Arabs living together in peace,” he said. 


Dozens of Meretz-Yahad activists, headed by party chairman Yossi Beilin and faction leader Zahava Galon, also visited Shfaram to pay their respects to both the victims families and local residents.


“The terrorist was not crazy, he knew exactly what he was doing,” Beilin said during his visit. “Whoever says, ’a Jew does not expel a Jew,’ leaves much room for interpretation of what a Jew can do to a non-Jew.”


Representative for the bereaved families, Muhammad Ali Taha said in response that “the visit has strengthened Shfaram and has instilled within them hope.”


“We will continue to believe in coexistence,” he said. “We know that most Israelis want peace and those who are crazy will not influence the comradeship between the nations.”


During his visit to Shfaram, Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz called for an increased usage of administrative arrests against radical right-wing activists during disengagement.


Pines-Paz also met with the city’s mayor and families of the victims.


"The terror attack was traumatic for us all - Jews and Arabs alike,” he said, adding that he would propose to establish a government committee, headed by a judge, to investigate the circumstances behind the attack and to “prevent the next murder.”


- Diana Bahur-Nir and Ahiya Raved contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 08.06.05, 15:47
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