Israeli Deputy Minister: Slaying of Teens a ‘Direct Outcome’ of Palestinian Unity ‘Terror Government’ (INTERVIEW)
The recent slaying of three Israeli teens by Arab terrorists is a “direct” result of the recently formed Palestinian unity “terror” government, Ofir Akunis, Deputy Minister in the Office of Israeli Prime-minister Netanyahu told The Algemeiner on Monday hours after news of the killings broke.
“I think it’s a direct outcome of the terror government that the Palestinians established last month,” Akunis said, adding that the recent uptick in rocket attacks from Gaza can also be traced to the agreement.
The deal between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party and internationally recognized terror group Hamas was inked last month.
Akunis, whose daily responsibilities include acting as a liaison between the Prime Minister’s office and Israel’s Knesset, also sharply criticized the U.S. for rushing to accept the new Palestinian government.
“I think that it was a huge mistake – huge – that the Secretary of State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs in the world recognized this government and said that it’s good for the peace process because Abbas will take leadership in the Gaza strip again,” he asserted. “Of course it was a mistake; the opposite happened. Hamas is getting stronger in Judea and Samaria; that’s what happened. And unfortunately this terror attack is part of this, this is a part of the wrong idea of a national unity government in the Palestinian Authority.”
The bodies of the Israeli youths were found on Monday afternoon after an 18-day intensive search that began shortly after they were abducted late in the night of June 12 as they returned from school. Since that time Israel has been on edge as its army launched an unprecedented manhunt to track down the boys and their killers. Over 400 terror suspects have been arrested so far in the operation and hundreds of illegal weapons have been confiscated.
Akunis says that Israel will go much further to secure its citizens.
“I think it was just the beginning what you saw in the last three weeks,” he said.
Referring to Israel’s 2012 ‘Pillar of Defense’ operation in Gaza that saw some 1500 Hamas sites targeted, he added, “The bombs in Gaza can be much more stronger, and they know it.”
“It’s a possibility that it will be much stronger, because Hamas is now all over the area, especially in Judea, especially there nearby Hebron where we found the bodies.”
“We can do much more, and we will do,” the Deputy Minister warned. “Everything includes everything. That’s what we say, and this is our policy. They will be surprised to see our strength – Hamas. They will be surprised to see it.”
Akunis expressed some optimism that Abbas will come to realize that his partnership with Hamas is ill advised. “I think that Abu Mazen, Abbas, is starting to understand it,” he said.
“You heard his speech at the Arab League,” he added, referring to Abbas’s recent condemnation of the abduction of the teens in Saudi Arabia. “But speaking is not enough. We want to see something that he will do. And the first thing that he is supposed to do is to stop the national unity government with Hamas.”
“I think that he’s under our pressure to do it, but it’s not enough,” Akunis said. “I want to see American pressure on him to split it and European pressure, because everybody understands now that it’s impossible to continue with this government, the terror government. It will be bad for us and for the region, and it’s bad for Abbas himself.”