There was a suicide bombing in Dimona today: one woman was killed, and 38 were wounded, one critically. It would have been far worse, but Kobi Mor, a police officer from an elite unit who happened to be on the scene, shot the second of the two bombers dead before he could detonate his belt. Reports are that he acted superbly, managing to take the terrorist out — as he still attempted to trigger the explosives after he’d been wounded — without hitting the belt itself.
Now, please note: This was a joint operation of Al Aksa Brigades, which is a terrorist arm of Fatah (the "moderate" party of Abbas), and groups associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of the terrorists belonged to the Brigades and the other to PFLP; both were from Gaza. The two groups are saying the terrorists came through the breached fence at Rafah, and then across from the Sinai into the Negev, which is where Dimona is located. Suspicion is that they were assisted on the Israeli side of the border, perhaps by Bedouin.
A spokesman for Al Aksa Brigades held a press conference in Gaza — can you imagine the gall of this? — at which time he said that the attack was planned months ago but could only be activated after the fence came down.
Palestinian teenagers in Gaza handed out candy to celebrate the successful attack. This, my friends, is a fact of more than passing interest.
It was very much feared that something like this would happen, as our security people knew clearly that terrorist cells had moved from Gaza into the Sinai — there was one report that 20 terrorist cells were now in the Sinai, and Egypt police did pick up some Palestinians, one with explosives.
While every effort will be made to keep this from happening again, there is, unfortunately. no guarantee that it won’t. Suspicions are that other groups have already moved from the Sinai to Israel.
Defense Minister Barak said today that the attack justifies his having decided to stay in the government. Why? No one better understands the complexity of the current situation than he does.
No comment is necessary.
Barak has said he will bring down the government "when the time is right," but that now isn’t the time — especially as Olmert is engaged in negotiations. Olmert’s people declare that Barak has given them "nine months (i.e., until the US presidential election) of quiet."
As to the "complexity" of the current situation , Olmert also referred to it today in remarks to the Knesset: The Dimona attack only points to the complexity, he said. What complexity? That is manufactured because of the artificial situation of trying to negotiate and fight a terror war at the same time, a totally untenable scenario — especially as those we’re negotiating with are part and parcel of the terrorist effort. This isn’t complexity, it’s madness.
Olmert said we "will not relent" in our war against the terrorists. Considering how he acts, this could make one gag.
Hamas has called the terrorist attack an ‘heroic act."
PA President Abbas was pretty much forced to say something about the attack, as a branch of Fatah was involved — something of an embarrassment.
What did he say?
"The Palestinian Authority expresses its full condemnation of the Israeli military operation this dawn in Qabatiya just as it condemns the operation that took place today in Dimona."
What he was referring to was an operation carried out by IDF forces that took place in the Palestinian town of Qabatiya, near Jenin. The IDF report explained that "The forces spotted three armed terrorists and opened fire at them. Two of them were killed, and three rifles were found on their bodies: An M-16, a Kalashnikov and a carbine." The terrorists were associated with Islamic Jihad.
Well, of course the two are quite parallel — terrorists killing innocents and the army killing terrorists. This is the position of our "partner in peace."
Anger about the situation is intense here.
MK and former foreign minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) called for a major operation in Gaza:
"Winograd and Annapolis are over , so there are no more excuses against a Gaza operation, as recommended by the defense establishment. It’s time to embark on the required operation in order to defeat the Hamas terror and prevent them from carrying additional terror attacks against innocent civilians in the future." Amen and amen to that.
Shalom also called for people to put pressure on Shas to leave the government, and that is particularly pertinent at this point:
Shas Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai called on Olmert to halt all negotiations with the PA and focus on security. He recommended that thought be given to re-taking the Philadelphi Corridor (on the border between Gaza and Egypt). "…the previous government decision to abandon the Philadelphi route without the ability to supervise the area was a mistake." What I’m reading here is that Shas is now publicly acknowledging, however obliquely, the error of negotiations, which they have been willing to sanction for their own reasons (power, money to their schools, etc.). Indeed, pressure must stay strong on Shas.
What particularly enraged people was the fact that the attack in Dimona occurred just as Olmert had announced intention to relax the criteria for releasing prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, so that some with blood on their hands would be let go. This was fiercely opposed by Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, who says this is likely to cause a spike in terrorist attacks.
While this is not yet official , a list of 450 prisoners who would be released in a number of weeks has been drawn up over the past six weeks by a committee headed by Haim Ramon.
The insanity of it: to release people who will surely return to killing Jews, in order to bring home one soldier (whom, indeed, everyone wants home, but at what cost?) The attack today forces the government to look directly at the likely result of Olmert’s proposed policy.
There is some question as to what body will be called on to pass on this — the full cabinet, the security cabinet, or some other special committee appointed for this purpose (which would make it more likely to pass). It remains to be seen how today’s attack affects this.
Israel has received a letter from Gilad Shalit , which has been authenticated and turned over to the Shalit family. The way I’m reading this, the letter came via the Egyptians.
Although Olmert denies it, the assumption is being made that his readiness to relax criteria for those to be exchanged for Shalit was promoted by this letter.
Tomorrow: Discussion on Winograd and protests at the Knesset.